63 Miami to Bahamas Carnival Fascination Cruise Reviews

Like I have said before, it is amazing how you spend so many months looking forward to a cruise and then when it gets here, it goes by so quick. Now I am sitting at home with all of the "ship memories" rampantly bouncing through ... Read More
Like I have said before, it is amazing how you spend so many months looking forward to a cruise and then when it gets here, it goes by so quick. Now I am sitting at home with all of the "ship memories" rampantly bouncing through my head and I feel like I must document my experience so that I will never forget it. My girlfriend and I are both 21-year-old college students who live in Orlando, Fl. We have become addicted to cruising at a young age and when we don't have a cruise booked we feel like we have nothing to look forward to. After discovering how cheap cruising was during hurricane season I immediately booked the cheapest cruise I could find and that I was interested in. I ended up choosing a 4-day onboard the Fascination to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. As cruise time came nearer I began tracking the movement of Hurricane Ike. About a week before sailing I really began to have worries that the cruise would be canceled or ruined. We spent most of the weekend watching the news and having no clue what was going to happen with the trip. Everyone showed the storm heading directly to Miami around Monday September 8th (the day we were to leave,) and I was skeptical on whether or not the group before us would be able to dock. The storm dramatically changed paths on Saturday and it became apparent that we would be cruising, we just didn't know to where! Living only three hours away from the Port of Miami, we woke up around 7am on Monday and headed out. After breakfast and toll booths we ended up arriving around 11am. Upon entering the terminal we were all handed a piece of paper explaining an itinerary change. Due to the safety issues of Hurricane Ike they changed our ports of call to Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas. Many families were very angry (not simply the fact that they changed the ports, but with the lack of advanced notice and the way they were informed,) but I figured that I really just wanted to be on the boat and we put smiles on our faces. Even though I had just went to the Bahamas recently I was grateful that we still had 2 stops and that we weren't left with three sea days. Embarkation was very quick and before we knew it we were on the Lido Deck eating deli sandwiches. My initial impression of the Fascination was that it looked and smelled very clean. I was on the Sensation in April and when we first boarded there was a strong mildew-like smell. I certainly feel like this ship does not show its age. After lunch we walked around and awaited 1:30pm when we could go to our room. I met with the Maitre' D and requested a table for two, which was granted, and when we couldn't resist it anymore we went to our cabin. The upgrades definitely make everything more cheerful and bright. Our oceanview cabin on the Empress deck was more spacious with the "corner" removed and I was happy to see that the T.V. received CNN and ESPN. The first thing my girlfriend noticed was the bathroom improvements. They now have an actual sink and they have added strangely-attractive anti-slip flooring. To our surprise, our luggage arrived within 30 minutes and we spent the afternoon organizing our belongings. The muster drill took place in the theater and we were done within 10 minutes. For sail away we always buy a boat drink and go to the very front of the ship. It was more amazing than ever this time. There were extreme winds pushing us around which was probably due to all of the tropical depressions. The breeze running through our hair and beautiful blue waters made the entire experience so surreal. I spent the majority of the night doing what I always do; walking around and checking everything out. One of my favorite parts of cruising is exploring the ship for the first time. I love seeing all of the different decors and scenery. Both the "Passage to India" bar and "Diamonds Are Forever" disco were very atypical, but in a good way. It seems more effort was put into these public areas as opposed to others, such as the "Puttin on the Ritz" lounge and even the "Palace" theater. Granted both of these were nice as well there was not a whole lot of distinguishing features in them. "Casino Royale" was literally the same exact set-up as the casino onboard the Sensation and I still think they're very large for a cruise ship. The Poker Pro electronic Texas Hold'em table entertained me throughout the week and we were unsuccessful at the slot machines a couple nights. The atrium had the infamous "Carnival" dEcor and at night the elevators were glimmering bright orange. That evening the "Welcome Aboard" show was the same as always and a hilarious comedian named Carl Rimi graced the stage. After a few cocktails it was time to go sleep in our Carnival Comfort Beds! Day 1 - Fun Day at Sea I think that they should change the name to "Lazy Day at Sea" in the Carnival Capers. We always spend all day relaxing on the first sea day. After not waking up until close to 11am we dragged ourselves to the Coconut Bar and Grill to eat. Most of the breakfast was good although I never seem to like the eggs (they are always too runny.) Regarding the "Coconut Bar and Grill," I was impressed with the quality of food throughout the week. We also ate from the New-York Deli every day and got pizza late at night. A favorite of Kaleigh's is the chocolate frozen yogurt onboard the ships. After breakfast we changed into our bathing suits, found a cozy spot on the Sun Deck, and laid out in the sun for a few hours. There is something about listening to Jimmy Buffet on my Ipod, drinking frozen drinks, and being endlessly surrounded by water that makes life worth living. Watching the ice-sculpture carving was of great interest to me as my Father used to do this for a living. We were then lucky enough (I think) to catch the Hairy Chest contest, which was aptly coined "The Chewbacca Contest" in the Capers that day. In the gift shop Kaleigh found a shirt that says "Relax, Life is better cruising," which she is proudly wearing as I type. That evening we ate in the dining room for formal night. We had the 8:15pm late seating in the Sensation dining room. The cruise was apparently not booked to capacity as our "table for two" was one of the large "6-toppers." The atmosphere in the dining room was very romantic and the service that their waiters provide is something I am not used to. Being a college student I spend the majority of my meals eating off of the dollar menu at McDonalds. Of course, having somebody place a handkerchief on my lap and constantly throw foods and drinks at me was both shocking and appealing. Everything ordered throughout the week was delicious and I am constantly impressed with the quality of the food onboard the ships. I was very glad to see that changing the name to "Elegant Night" did not stop passengers from dressing up. The formal nights on cruises are practically the only time we get to dress up so we were pleased to see almost everyone else do the same. Unlike some cruisers, we actually enjoy taking pictures so we made sure to go around to every station. We always end up spending nearly as much money on pictures as we do on our bar tab. The show this evening was "Far From Over," the 80's era musical, and besides a few lighting difficulties in the beginning it was enjoyable. What I enjoyed more was the Adult comedy show with Carl Rimi at midnight. This took place in the lounge at the rear of the ship and it made it feel more like an actual comedy club. I also got the chance to meet some fellow Cruise Critic members in here which is always fun. Day 2 - Nassau, Bahamas Having been here just a couple months before, we decided that we would just get off the ship and go shopping. Here I need to exaggerate how beautiful the weather was. Unlike the last time I was there, there was a strong breeze outside and the sun was concealed behind some clouds. It wasn't dark and moody, the weather was simply perfect. It makes me wish we would have waited until this trip to do the 10 mile walk through Nassau. We looked through the touristy shops and visited Senor Frogs. Walking through the Straw Market I was offered drugs three different times which I got a kick out of. One guy insisted on telling me that he "had the best trees man!" Back on the ship we invaded the Coconut Bar and Grill again and after the awe-striking sail away we donated to the casino. The band in the "Passage to India" lounge was named "The Jafar Curry Band" and I found them enjoyable. They were just as entertaining as all of the Asian bands I have encountered on the ships in the past. The lead vocalist had a great voice but she constantly did some crazy shaking dance that got annoying. It is hard to explain what she was doing but it was a sort of a violent exorcist-type movement (no, really.) There were also some one-person entertainers throughout the ship that were okay. Showtime this evening consisted of three things: A guest talent show that was hilarious due to the antics of Trevor, my favorite cruise director thus far. There was a balancing act from the talented Lubo (he did have trouble with a few of his tricks,) and they had another comedian do a family-oriented show. His name was Ronnie Bullard and I recommend that everybody go to his shows if you get a chance. He was another genuinely funny guy who invited everybody to come talk to him after the performance. We ended the night by attending the deck party which was also a lot of fun due to Trevor. Day 3 - Freeport, Bahamas I am going to be honest and say that Freeport is my least favorite port. I understand that it's an industrial port and that you have to travel to get to the interesting stuff, but I have been to Port Lucaya before and I don't think there's much more to do than that. This was essentially another sea day for us which was perfectly okay. We got some sun, played bingo in the "Palace," and ate from the buffet all day long. They did something that I thought was very classy and hung a large American flag from the atrium. I have never seen this before and I am pretty sure that they did it being September 11th. I thought it was very respectful and it made for some great pictures as well. The one thing that I do like about Freeport is the sail away. Not just because we are leaving there, but because the imagery is stunning. There are so many shades of blue in the water and the ship has to make a sort of 3-point-turn because the port is so small. It is amazing watching them pilot this huge ship through such small areas. While we were there I saw the Carnival Destiny being worked on. I never knew that when they did maintenance to ships it was performed at places like Freeport. The fact that it was already the last night of the cruise did not blemish our mood. There were still so many things to do and entertainment was plentiful. The final show was titled "Hey Mambo" and if this lively musical doesn't have you in a good mood then there's a problem. I don't know how to dance and strongly dislike dancing in general, yet this show had me Cha-Cha-Cha-ing around the ship when it was over. Ronnie Bullard did an R-rated adult show at midnight which was even funnier than Carl Rimi's and afterwards we decided to have a final meal. We spent an hour or so saying goodbye to the grill and then went to the observatory deck in the front of the boat. Standing at the bow of the ship, looking in every direction and seeing nothing on the horizon was breathtaking. Brightly-lit ships could be seen in the distance, the moon and stars reflected a path across the water, and through the piercing wind blowing in your face you could still hear the hull slicing through the water. No margaritas were needed to enhance this sensation; I could have stood out there for hours. Day 4 - Debarkation Waking up early Friday morning and gathering our suitcases was disheartening. After spending only a couple days in our cabins we always feel attached to them. As if it's my home and I don't want anybody else sleeping in my bed that evening. Reality kicked in and we decided to do self-assist to get on the road quicker. It became apparent that this feature was more popular now when I walked out my door and the line was wrapped through the hallways. It was still considerably quicker than normal and we coasted through customs. We were back to the real world and on the road by 8:30am. In a matter of hours we went from being completely free on the ocean to being stuck in traffic on the turnpike. I can now spend years reminiscing about the experience and I will always have stories to tell. This vacation further proved to me that cruising is the best way to travel. We spent only 4 days at sea and I only visited Nassau, yet I am still bursting with wondrous feelings and emotions. Second only to the Miracle trip, this is now one of my most memorable vacations. Everything about the Fascination was perfect and I will definitely sail her again in the future. I could go on and on for hours explaining why I enjoy cruising so much but I feel that this quote sums up my feelings perfectly: "Ships are the nearest thing to dreams that hands have ever made." -Robert N. Rose Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
My girlfriends and I just got back from a three-night cruise on Carnival Fascination. We enjoyed each others company, but the ship had LOTS of room for improvement. This was my first cruise on Carnival; previously I sailed on Royal ... Read More
My girlfriends and I just got back from a three-night cruise on Carnival Fascination. We enjoyed each others company, but the ship had LOTS of room for improvement. This was my first cruise on Carnival; previously I sailed on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We picked Carnival for price and the short itinerary. Embarkation was fine, no problems and despite long lines, we were processed quickly. We were four in a room, and frankly, before boarding I was a bit nervous about space. They arranged the room fine, with 2 uppers and 2 lowers. Our cabin steward brought us extra towels and robes as requested. Two of us showered in the spa, so we were all fine. Other than our cabin steward, the staff on the ship left a lot to be desired. The buffet on boarding was poor quality and there were long lines everywhere. We had originally requested a table for four at the late seating. Instead, we were put at a table for 10, including two children. My friend went to see if it could be changed. The attitude she encountered was typical of what we experienced throughout the cruise. Instead of a smile, and a "I'll see what I can do" she was berated for asking, told the ship was full, and nothing could be done. She persisted, and later that day a card appeared in our room with our new table and a note, saying "I moved some guests to accommodate you". One of my friends has major knee/hip issues, and wanted to use the elevator to get to our muster station during the lifeboat drill. She was told that all of the elevators were busy taking luggage to the cabins and she should "just take it slow" I complained to a crew member and he arranged for her to take an elevator. At dinner the first night, our waiter was harried, and hardly paid us any attention. I sat through most of the night with an empty water glass. He really didn't seem to care if we enjoyed dinner. I had wanted to order a bottle of wine to have throughout the cruise as is offered on other ships, but he never asked. Carnival has a cut system where they divide the passengers into teams for the various games played during the cruise. Our waiter never told us about any of this. His treatment of our table made us feel that we were being punished for asking for our table to be changed. The next night the neglect continued. We had ordered minestrone soup and a Caesar salad as our starters. Both could have used parmesan cheese, but none was offered. I assumed that none was available until I saw our waiter bring some to another table. Again, I sat with an empty water glass throughout most of dinner. When the maitre'd came by that night (he never came by the first night) and asked how dinner was, I told him how disappointed I was. His first response was to say that I should have found a supervisor the first night or earlier that night. I said it wasn't my responsibility to look for someone and I was telling him now since he was there. He also said that there were many Latin guests who came late and "threw their rhythm off." Finally, he offered us a bottle of champagne the next night and to be included in a special tour of the kitchen the next day. We took the tour and it was wonderful. The maitre'd ensured that we had a great table and service at lunch (not with our waiter) and it was wonderful. He promised that dinner would also be fine. Alas, it was not to be. The champagne was there, and our waiter poured it, but didn't come back until much, much later in the evening to refill our glasses. In fact, I had to get up to refill our glasses. The water was refilled promptly upon request, but I had to ask each time. My friend had ordered a main course that she wasn't sure if she was going to like. In fact, she had asked for a taste, but was told that he had to bring her the whole dinner. She did not like it, and we had to wait 10 minutes to have him come over to the table and get her new request. It took him 30 minutes to bring the new entree. By the way, the maitre'd never came over to see how things were at our table. The bar staff also had a lot to be desired. They had no personality, and couldn’t mix my friend’s drink right. She had ordered a Sloe Comfortable Screw, which is sloe gin, Southern Comfort, and orange juice and vodka. Even when she explained it, they couldn’t get it right. At one point, we were sitting in a lounge area, when a waitress came and took her drink order. My friend offered to write the drink recipe down. The waitress said it wasn’t necessary. She came back with the wrong drink, and when so informed told my friend (she of the bad hip and knee) to get up and tell the bartender. The last day, another friend was trying to find one of the pictures we had taken. We had all searched for the picture to no avail. When she asked for help, she was told they were “too busy”. These people obviously are not trained in customer service. We were told that the ship had a $30 million dollar renovation. It was not obvious. The lounge chairs were not comfortable. The bathroom in our room smelled bad. I do not recommend Carnival Cruise Line for its service. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
My friend and I sailed out of Miami with Carnival and their fascination ship. Our destination was Nassau, from 8 am Saturday to Sunday at 7 AM. We booked a guaranteed window which was a good hundred dollars cheap then the "pick your ... Read More
My friend and I sailed out of Miami with Carnival and their fascination ship. Our destination was Nassau, from 8 am Saturday to Sunday at 7 AM. We booked a guaranteed window which was a good hundred dollars cheap then the "pick your own room" option. The room was very nice with fabulous bedding. I have gone on many cruises but this was by far the best bedding. The window was very large and could be easily closed by the shades. The bathroom was great as well. They give you a little goodie bag in the room with all the bathroom essentials. We loved the bath robes they gave us for the weekend. The ship is a little hard to maneuver, but you get the hang of it after a day or so. Check in- It's pretty fast as long as you have your proper documents ready. When you get on the ship they take your pic and send you up to the Lido deck until your room is ready. The pool wasn't great but it served its purpose. There were many areas where you can lay out and relax in the sun. The drink people were very annoying and won't leave you alone. At one point were were carrying our stuff on the deck and a server handed us two drinks. We thought this was free until he snatched the drink card out of hands, wrote down our cabin, and took off. It happened so fast, and very rude!!! At certain points I just ignored them and eventually they stop bothering you. Lots of pictures were taken so be ready for this as well. My one difference between other ships and this one was the caliber of people. The clothing and the dresses the women wear tend to be awfully racy and revealing. This was a small price to pay for such a cheap trip. We sat in the imagination dinning room with two other couples. Food was ok, wasn't fabulous. I always had two soups since they were very delicious! The desserts were basic and nothing to harp over. The waiters and waitresses already get tipped out in the beginning so they don't were too hard for their tip. We also attended the comedy show which was awful. The guy cursed in every joke to try to make it funnier. It actually made it worse. People were heckling him and leaving since it was so bad. The casino was pretty good. If you are a big time black jack player expect people to avoid "playing by the book." People are there to relax and enjoy themselves. They always had 24 hour a day ice cream and pizza place which we used often. There is always a line for the buffet. We didn't go see any of the shows since we had the late night seating. We did enjoy the karaoke and watched the people suck at singing. Superstar!! We only spent one day in the Bahamas which I would like to spend a little more time, maybe leave at 12 pm the following day. The shipped sailed at the slowest speed I have every seen. FYI the store close in the Bahamas around 3-4 so don't expect to go shopping after a day at the beach. Senior Frogs is a good time, but not really for older folk. Our room was always messy and was always cleaned up to perfection!! Overall the trip was worth how much you paid for it, and a great relaxing weekend!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
My best friend and I took our first cruise on Aug 1st. Due to the fact we ported out of Miami, we decided to make it a part of our vacation. We flew into Miami 2 days before the cruise. We stayed at the Hyatt Downtown. Hotel was great!!! ... Read More
My best friend and I took our first cruise on Aug 1st. Due to the fact we ported out of Miami, we decided to make it a part of our vacation. We flew into Miami 2 days before the cruise. We stayed at the Hyatt Downtown. Hotel was great!!! We chose to stay on the club level. It was worth it! The morning of the cruise we took a cab to the dock. Greeters were there to take our luggage and ensure we were in the correct place. They directed us where to go and gave us a brief overview of the embarkation process. We proceeded to go through clearance which was a breeze. Once we checked in, photographers took our picture before boarding the ship. We got checked in and were totally lost! Our rooms were not due to be ready until 2-3 hours. We decided to go eat on the lido deck. Once we found where it was we ate lunch. FOOD WAS FANTASTIC!! By the time we finished lunch our room was ready. Our cabin steward met us in the hall and introduced himself and briefed us on the trip. The cruise was full of activities. We had 2 groups of great people at our table. We befriended each other and now keep in touch. Cruise entertainment is great also. In "Diamonds Are Forever" a young lady from Atlanta and live band performed as if it were a BEYONCE concert! I would have paid money to see them perform! They were awesome! We looked forward to seeing the towel animals on our beds each night. Our dining experience was awesome. I tried several options. The wait staff was very accommodating and ensured the customer was pleased. At the end of our cruise, the cabin steward came by to take pics with us. I miss the staff already! Oh yeah, the Captains Reception is a "MUST DO!" The Captain introduces the cruise staff and provides the cruisers with food and drinks he chooses! We opted to stay an extra day in Miami once the ship docked. BEST CHOICE EVER! I cant wait for our next cruise. I HAVE THE BEST CARNIVAL REP EVER!!!!! He totally prepared us for the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
We were a group of 4 adults, 2 in their 30s and 2 seniors. We had a great experience overall. The 3 night cruise is perfect for people looking for a quick relaxing weekend getaway. It is not meant to be a super-luxury cruise liner so if ... Read More
We were a group of 4 adults, 2 in their 30s and 2 seniors. We had a great experience overall. The 3 night cruise is perfect for people looking for a quick relaxing weekend getaway. It is not meant to be a super-luxury cruise liner so if you are looking for a very refined experience, this is not for you. Embarkation: Super easy. We got there by 11:30, were on board by 12:15 and actually got to have our lunch on the ship. We set sail only at 4 PM. Debarkation: Also supereasy. We didn't check any bags. So we went up to have breakfast at 7:30 and by 8:30 we got in line to get out with our bags. We cleared customs and immigration in Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
This was my first cruise, and my husband's second (though his first was 8 years ago). We wanted a short vacation, and I had always been interested in trying cruising. I did lots of research on CruiseCritic.com to try to find the right ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and my husband's second (though his first was 8 years ago). We wanted a short vacation, and I had always been interested in trying cruising. I did lots of research on CruiseCritic.com to try to find the right ship. We are 28 & 34 from Washington, D.C. and were looking for something without a ton of families, something short (3 or 4 days) to either the Caribbean or Mexico, and great value for cost. We decided on the Carnival Fascination 3-day cruise from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas. We flew Spirit Airlines from Washington Reagan National Airport to Fort Lauderdale, FL. I had read about inexpensive transfers from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, but had not booked anything in advance. When we arrived, we were approached by a Carnival representative and offered a transfer for $24 per person. We declined, and eventually found the transfer for $18 per person. They took us directly to the port without any other stops. It was well worth the money we saved flying into FLL instead of Miami and the transfer was easy. So getting to port was very easy. Once we arrived at port, we were instantly approached and given bag tags (even though we were given tags with our cruise docs, they said they preferred the ones they had - they were sturdier plastic instead of paper). Our bags were taken and we were sent in to go through security. As a first-timer, I had no idea what to expect, but the lines were like that to get through an average airport security line. I would say we were through all lines and checked in in about 30 minutes, and onboard by about 1:00 p.m. We went straight up to the Lido deck to get some lunch and a drink. I found the lido pool deck food adequate. The french fries were GREAT! The burgers were so-so, dessert was great, and everything in between was in between! We hung out for a while on the pool deck, where I found the drink servers to be slightly overwhelming. There were so many of them, and I feel like our conversation was interrupted every 10 seconds to have to say, "No, thank you" to YET ANOTHER server trying to offer us a drink. That was one of the only annoying things I found on the ship. We then went to our room, where we found our bags. We had booked an "inside guarantee," and got upgraded to an outside room at the front of the ship with two porthole windows. I loved it! I never would have paid more money for an outside room, because we were on a budget, but having the windows was really nice. After resting in our room for a while, it was time for the ship to head out. We took out the nice camera and headed up to the highest deck we could. There were lots of people out, but it didn't feel overly crowded. That was the most amazing thing to me on the whole cruise - I expected to feel "crowded," and I very rarely, if ever, did. We enjoyed taking off, and then it was time to get ready for dinner. We had dinner in the sensation dining room on the first and third nights. The food both times was PHENOMENAL. I don't eat out fancy meals frequently, but have had my share, so I know good food from bad, but I'm also not a food snob. The Caesar salad was awesome. I was very pleased with all the dining room food and the service was exceptional. The waiters were there to make us happy, whatever that took. On the first night our table was pretty empty - just us and one other couple. On night three, there were four total couples, so that was more fun. As to the formal night, there is my one gripe: None of our cruise documents mentioned anything about a formal night. I did not know, being a first-timer, about formal night at all. I had heard of them, reading reviews, but assumed on such a short cruise there would not be one, and since none of my documents mentioned anything about one, I did not pack appropriately, and most importantly, nor did my husband. I did have a dress, and could have made it work, but my husband packed nothing even remotely fancy enough. So we missed out on formal night, and I was really bummed about that! So I really felt they should have mentioned that in the pre-cruise information. That's my one gripe about this cruise, and it really has nothing to do with the cruise, but with the pre-cruise information. We ate lunch each day at the Lido pool deck or Coconut Grove, as well as breakfast. Both were adequate, not phenomenal, but definitely adequate. And the selection was so large that if you couldn't find something you liked, you were truly picky! As for entertainment, we played Bingo one night, watched the Newlywed game (which was hilarious), and watched a comedian one early evening (not that great). We enjoy gambling, so really most of our off time was spent doing that. The casino was more than adequate. It felt like Vegas. I have nothing to complain about the casino - we had a blast, and even did well! The ship docked in Nassau around 8:00 a.m. and stayed until 5:30 a.m. the next day. The only excursion I really wanted to do was snorkel. I had snorkeled in the great lakes where I grew up, but never in the ocean. We could choose between a 1-hour snorkeling time or 3-hour. I thought 3-hour was too much, so we took the 1-hour, booked on the ship. We had a blast, and the reef was really nice. I am a fish - I love the water, so afterward I really wished we had more time. So knowing what I know now, I will snorkel for longer next time. But the overall experience was well worth the approximately $40 pp we paid. Other than that, we just shopped at the straw market and took a horse-drawn carriage tour of town (over-priced for the length at $35 pp, but the tour guide was very animated and great, and I am a horse-lover, so it was worth it overall). We finished by shopping inside and then headed back to the ship. We spent most of our last day at sea sunning at the pool deck and playing in the blackjack tournament (which I came in 4th!). Overall, it was a WONDERFUL experience for both of us. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The price was right, and in fact I felt we got far more than we paid for. Our room steward was amazing. We saw him every time we went back to the room. He was always pleasant and always willing to do whatever he could to make our stay better. One note about elevators - I can't comment much on them. We tried using them once or twice and found them crowded and some elevators only went to certain decks, so we got frustrated and just used the stairs the rest of the time. It was a good excuse to get some exercise, because another place we sure did NOT visit was the gym! I can't wait for my next cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
Embarkation We decided to book this cruise at the last minute to do something different and special for our anniversary. We always book with our Carnival PVP since she has taken good care of us so far. We booked a flight to Miami from ... Read More
Embarkation We decided to book this cruise at the last minute to do something different and special for our anniversary. We always book with our Carnival PVP since she has taken good care of us so far. We booked a flight to Miami from Atlanta leaving the same day as the cruise. We did not experience any major problems getting to Miami. Our flight left Atlanta about 30 minutes late but the pilot did a good job of making up the time. We got to the airport at about 12:45 and waited for the very slow baggage people to get our luggage on the conveyor belt. After we collected our bags, we caught a cab to the terminal. The porter that handled our bags and the Carnival employees inside were nice and helpful. What was not so nice were the security people and the check-in lines. Just a hint, if you're on the Main, Upper, or Empress decks, prepare to wait a while. These decks had the longest lines by far. By the time we got checked in and up to the area where they take the embarkation photo, I was in no mood for a picture. Cabin/Ship The Fascination is a lovely ship with fresh paint on the outside and nice upgrades on the inside. The ship was very clean. My only complaints about the ship would be that the public bathrooms don't appear to have been upgraded with the rest of the ship. Also there were some areas of the ship that had funny smells. Our ocean view cabin was in the very back of the ship. It was clean and relatively quiet except for the occasional loud person in the hall or whenever they anchored the ship and started the ship to set sail. When we docked in the Bahamas, we heard what sounded like every single anchor and rope being dropped, pulled, and tied...and quite loudly I might add. We left the Bahamas at 5:30 in the morning and were awakened to the loud sounds of what we think was the engine, which got even louder as the ship turned or backed up. Since these events did not happen often and there was really nothing that could be done about it, we took it in stride. If you're easily annoyed, you may want to avoid the aft cabins on the Main deck or just arrange to not be in your cabin when the ship docks or sets sail. Service/Food With the exception of the dining room staff, we had great service on Fascination. As always, our room stewards were excellent. I also had a very informative consultation with the ship's fitness director. Our only other cruise was on the Legend and the buffet staff on the Fascination Lido deck is the hands down winner when you compare the two. They offered a beverage service during the buffet dining times where they came around and refilled your drink. There was none of that on the Legend. If you wanted a refill, you had to get it yourself. They also had someone at the dessert table to serve you dessert. The staff on the Lido deck just seemed friendlier overall and we really enjoyed them. The dining room staff was another story. We ate breakfast in the dining room on our last sea day and our waiter seemed a bit abrupt. Our tablemates had the same observations. I made the mistake of ordering fruit AFTER my omelet and the waiter felt the need to gently chide me for not ordering it first since they had already put everything away. He wasn't rude about it. He didn't yell or scowl at me. I just didn't understand why he felt the need to mention it at all. I just smiled and nodded and he brought the fruit that I ordered. We had not been in the dining room before this point so we just thought that it was just that particular waiter. Wrong. We went to dinner in the dining room on the same night. Dinner in the dining room was even worse than breakfast. Of course, since it was our first dinner we didn't know where our table was and the maitre'd did not seem happy about that at all. He was also very abrupt and it took him several tries to actually find our table. Our waiter was obviously harried and overwhelmed. He was also quite abrupt and paid us little attention aside from bringing our food. My husband and our tablemates ordered two entrees and he brought both at the same time. Common sense dictates that while you're eating one, the other will get cold so why bring both at the same time? My husband refused dessert and despite his protests, the waiter brought him apple pie anyway. Luckily, we only ate in the dining room one day and the service from the rest of the staff almost makes up for the dining room's failings. The food was surprisingly good on the Fascination. We mostly ate at the buffet or the grill and I was surprised at how good the food was at the buffet. Despite the bad service in the dining room, we enjoyed our dinner. However, I would advise anyone sailing on the Fascination to bring their own bottled water. The ship's drinking water tastes and smells funny. I couldn't bring myself to drink it after the first sip. Activities The activities on the ship were standard Carnival Fare. The one exception was the fitness classes offered. They offered more free exercises classes than the Legend and they offered some really good free classes in the afternoon when I prefer to workout. We attended one midnight comedy show and the comedian-Al Romero-was not funny at all. He was being heckled, which I will admit is rude, and started arguing with the hecklers telling them to leave if they didn't like his act. We attended the Fiesta Latina show on the last night and it was almost comical. It was just a lot of skirt flouncing. Other than the music, there was hardly anything Latin about it. The dance routines were still the standard dance routines just set to Latin music. My husband and I got a really good laugh when they threw in some Calypso and African music too. They even played "The Banana Boat" song by Harry Belafonte which, the last time I checked, is not a Latin song. Bahamas We did not plan an excursion for Nassau and I'm glad we didn't. I was not impressed with this port at all. The smell as you get off the boat is pretty bad and there are some other smelly areas as you're walking around. I did not find Nassau as picturesque as some of the other Caribbean islands and spent most of the time wondering if this was it. We printed the self guided tour of Nassau from Frommers.com before we left for the cruise and spent about two hours walking around and exploring the island on our own. We got back into town and did a little shopping. The ship docked in this port overnight so we got off again at around 5:00 in the evening only to find that most of the shops and restaurants were closed. I didn't expect them to stay open all night but at least an extra hour or two. Disembarkation Disembarkation was quite a lengthy and unorganized process on the Fascination. The Legend is a much bigger ship yet we were able to get off and clear customs in about half the time it took us to get off the Fascination. We opted to self-embark since we did not have much luggage. After eating breakfast, we lazed around for a bit and finally headed down to the disembarkation deck at 9:00. We stood there for about 20 minutes just waiting to get off the ship. There was absolutely no explanation of why we were just standing there. Disembarkation had started at about 7:30 so I don't understand what the hold up was. The customs line was ridiculously long and it did not help that only about 75% of the stations were staffed by customs agents. My biggest complaint about this cruise was the…umm…clientele. Apparently, it was spring break somewhere because every wild college student appeared to be on this cruise and, like my mother would say, "acted like they'd never been anywhere". I looked at my husband on the first night and jokingly asked him if we had mistakenly booked the party cruise. After a while, they became more amusing than annoying. All the drunken performances made karaoke nights especially funny. Despite all this, we enjoyed our mini vacation and really liked the Fascination overall. It was our anniversary and we were determined not to let anyone or anything ruin it for us. We will cruise the Fascination again, just not during spring break or to Nassau. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
Wow!!! better than expected, We had a group of 20 and we traveled to Miami by motor coach, The lines to get on the ship were long but they moved quickly. Once aboard we were able to go directly to our stateroom if we wanted, or to the lido ... Read More
Wow!!! better than expected, We had a group of 20 and we traveled to Miami by motor coach, The lines to get on the ship were long but they moved quickly. Once aboard we were able to go directly to our stateroom if we wanted, or to the lido deck for lunch. We went to the cabin, on first look it was much bigger than expected with a huge picture window, the view was great!!!. The beds OMG!!! the beds best sleep I've had in a while whenever I did sleep. Our room Stewart Imade was the best he tended to our every need and always with a smile. After checking out the stateroom it was off to the lido deck for lunch, The food was great, hot dogs , nachos, hamburgers, grilled chicken and such but the onion rings were the best I have had and I ate my share. Overall the food was good and sometimes better than any All Inclusive vacation I've been on and I've been on a few. I don't drink alcohol and it's good I don't as I can see that's how they make a lot of money. We didn't do to many shows as I couldn't leave the casino where I won and kept $600.00, that made the cruise for me, my slot machine was the wheel of fortune. Overall the ship looked great it was clean and people were always wiping this painting that, My only suggestion is to do some work on the public bathrooms a little worn and not as clean as they could be. There is always something to do on this ship as a matter of fact we didn't do half the things we wanted to do, needed more time. When we got to the Bahamas they were offering a shore excursion to the Atlantis for $55.00 but my cabin mate and I decided to go on our own we took a taxi for $4.00 to the Atlantis walked through the hotel like we belong straight out to the pool area and the aquarium we toured the whole hotel went out to there beach and relaxed in the lounge chairs in the sun and enjoyed the beach for 4 hours with no problem mon!!! Then back to the ship for formal night, before I went on this cruise I thought who wants to dress up on vacation, but this was the highlight of the trip seeing everyone look so nice was really a nice touch. And my pictures came out great and that's the only other thing that bothered me a little they always want to take your picture, a few times is ok but it got to the point where I said no more please and they were ok and not to pushy if you said no thanks. Sailing back to Miami was great and it didn't bother me any that it rain half way back. The ship has so much to offer who would let a little rain ruin a good time. So just so you know I would sail the Fascination again!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
This was my 3rd time aboard the Fascination (first since it had dry dock renovations) and overall I will say it was as expected... Oh - FYI, I traveled alone this cruise. Friday (Embarkation): Nonstop Northwest Airlines Flight from ... Read More
This was my 3rd time aboard the Fascination (first since it had dry dock renovations) and overall I will say it was as expected... Oh - FYI, I traveled alone this cruise. Friday (Embarkation): Nonstop Northwest Airlines Flight from Memphis to Miami then a taxi from MIA to the port. Unfortunately my cellphone must have fell out of my briefcase in the taxi because it is missing in action. The line for embarkation was rather short (I arrived at 1:30-ish) so it went quickly and 15 minutes later I was onboard. I headed straight to the cabin (1A - even though I am Platinum with Carnival and booked a 1A GUAR, I still received a 1A. First time that has happened... I usually get upgraded significantly). My only real complaint (Since I was traveling alone) wasn't the cabin, but the fact that the service on the Riviera deck PALES in comparison to the other decks. I called for my room steward 4 times in the first day to no avail (I am diabetic and need ice to keep my insulin cold. I made this clear to the person answering the room steward number but still had to go to the pursers desk to get resolution). Unpacked and headed to the Lido bar for those first few cocktails. This cruise I selected 8:00pm seating for dinner, as the Karaoke starts at 9:00pm and I love to sing. I made a few friends at the Lido bar (as is customary on a 3-day cruise) then went back to the room to check for my baggage (and it was there). Shower and change for dinner. Carnival usually does a great job of pairing tables and this was no disappointment. As a single man, I was at a table with 5 single women and 5 single men (although I was the youngest of the bunch, I guess someone has to be). Dinner the first night was very good. The service was excellent (usually Carnival short cruises are lacking in service but this time was a nice exception). Of course we had the Warm Melting Chocolate Cake for dessert. Karaoke at 9:30 or so was alot of fun. Cecilia was the hostess for Karaoke and she was really good (although their song selections are TERRIBLE! Good thing I brought along my own CDG discs). We hit the "Diamonds are Forever" Disco after Karaoke and danced (and drank) until 4:00am or so then off to the 24 hour Pizzeria. Saturday (Nassau): Slept in until 11:00am (had to rest up for the days activities). I pre-booked my FAVORITE shore excursion - the Yellowbird Party Boat. I have done this excursion countless times in the past and it is always a blast. 200-300 people on a 3-deck catamaran with flowing complimentary rum punch. What is nice about this cruise is you are mixed in with people from other ships (a shout out to the amorous girl I met from North Carolina... I still have the shell marks). You sail for an hour of drinking then spend another hour or so on the beach then the party on the way back is ALWAYS a blast. They have a live calypso band and a DJ (even though the DJ needs new discs - his skipped alot that day). We were quite a bit 'toasted' by the time we got back to port, but headed to Senor Frogs regardless (another tradition). It was alot of fun... If for no other reason than simply people-watching. The balloon clown there is amazing! Back to the ship to prepare for formal night (I don't prefer formal nights on a full port day - I much rather they be on a day-at-sea). I hung my tux in the bathroom while I showered (a business traveler's trick I learned a long time ago - no wrinkles) and went to dinner... excellent meal (Beef Wellington that night was superb. A difficult task when cooking for so many people.) I was impressed with the wine list on the ship this time. They had some excellent choices (and very eclectic selection) Kudos to the person who selected the wines. Karaoke that night also then the club again. In bed by 4:30am. Sunday (day at sea): Up at about noon (thanks Yellowbird) then to the Lido deck for some lunch. Not bad buffet selections this cruise. Typical day-at-sea with the men's hairy chest contest, survivor, etc. More drinking ensued and people were REALLY loosening up at the Lido Pool Bar (a couple of ladies had difficulties keeping their shirts on... this was a bit concerning since there were children at the pool.) Dinner that night was chateaubriand (surprisingly sizeable and very tasty!!!) paired with a GREAT Pinot Noir... again kudos to the wine list. Cheesecake was TERRIBLE! It tasted like a cheap, dried poundcake so we reordered the Warm Melting Chocolate Cake... YUMMY! To Karaoke once again then again to the Disco until 3:00am. I self-carry my bags off so I don't have to worry and clothes for the next day, etc. Pizza at 3:15 then bed. Monday (Debarkation): knock at my cabin door at 7:45am (finally saw my cabin steward as he gave me my wake-up and told me to pack up and head to a 'waiting area' upstairs. Yeah, that's gonna happen... NOT! I took my time, packed, showered, then carried my bags off the ship. Short line to customs and outside. Met be a shuttle seller who said $10 to MIA airport. We waited for the shuttle to fill up then off... I recommend this option, as a cab will cost you $24. Arrived at MIA at 9:30am or so... Went straight to the NWA ticket counter to request an earlier flight (Mine was 4:00pm). I knew not to expect any luck (they call it "Cruise Monday" and all earlier flights are oversold) no luck, of course. Paid the $9.95 for the MIA WI-FI access and got some emails done. Flight from MIA-MEM uneventful (a full flight but I always get a first class upgrade so that didn't matter to me. NWA has one of the best Platinum programs in the business). Overall a great getaways 3-day cruise. PROS: Service on this ship was excellent. Weather was surprisingly awesome for this time of year - about 10 degrees warmer than normal... CONS: Due to my low-budget deck, the attention of the hotel staff was non-existent until I went to the purser. Additionally, I know I only paid for a 1A but I am Platinum (and the ship wasn't sold out 2 months ago when they LOCKED IN my R-deck cabin). I cruise your lines for a reason Carnival - upgrade your frequent cruisers... Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Background: I am a young professional, 28 years old teacher. I was traveling with a friend of mine and we were just looking for a different and relaxing weekend. I am an experienced cruiser, I have cruised more than 10 times and in 4 ... Read More
Background: I am a young professional, 28 years old teacher. I was traveling with a friend of mine and we were just looking for a different and relaxing weekend. I am an experienced cruiser, I have cruised more than 10 times and in 4 cruise lines. I especially like 3 day cruises and days at sea. Price: Excellent! Less than $250.00 for an exterior stateroom. Itinerary: Great for people who like to party. Since the ship stays a whole night in Nassau, people can go to local casinos, clubs and pubs. The day at sea was just perfect for a weekend trip. Tours: I took the Blackbeard Beach tour... we went to a private island and had a blast doing some snorkeling. Lunch in the tour was OK, but very convenient. However, time on the island was not that much, we arrived to the island at 9am and we had to go back to the cruise at 12pm. The price was $57.00, this was just to much for the time given at the island.... but it is worth it if you consider that you are in a private island with just tourist which is good for safety. Nowadays it's just not so good to hang around at public beaches with cameras or other valuables. Embarkation: Embarkation was a breeze, we arrived at the port at 12pm. Porter service is not the best, they ask for money just for taking the bag. How hard could it be to put a bag in a cart? I think this should not happen... On the other hand we were onboard very quick, less than 20 minutes. Sail Away: This was the worse sail away ever. The emergency drill was horrible. They started the drill an hour after they had it scheduled in the program. We could not enjoy the views of Miami while heading to the open sea. I have cruised before from Miami and this is just a great part of the cruise, my friend who had never cruised before from Miami was not that happy because we missed it. The drill was just horrible; we had to meet at the disco, then after learning how to put on the lifejacket we had to walk like kindergartners to the lifeboat. Why couldn't we go there since the beginning? Cabin: Cabins were big, spacious, clean, comfortable and nicely furnished. The beds were very comfortable and the bedding was divine. The best items in the cabin were the pillows...in fact I am thinking on buying them soon. Facilities: Clean, well maintained, and very colorful. For the age of the vessel it was very well maintained. It seems that the ship just had a facelift. Service: Excellent... every crew member did the best effort for me to have the best cruise. Food: Not the best, but ok. They can improve in this area. Entertainment: Excellent shows... but... entertainment can improve... Cruise Director was not that good. Fair...that is all. Debarkation: The best one ever... there was no harassment like in Royal Caribbean to take you out of the ship. Not annoying messages in the stateroom speakers. We never had anyone bothering us at the cabin either... on the contrary; we came out of the stateroom at 9:30 am and were greeted in a nice way by our steward. I loved the way the ship's management handle this process. We were out by 11AM and most of the guests were out by this time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Cruising for the sixth time, previously on NCL and RCL, we were looking for a last minute weekend getaway. Given the attractive airfares out of Chicago to Miami and the fact our last cruise was on the Majesty, the alternative 3-day ship, ... Read More
Cruising for the sixth time, previously on NCL and RCL, we were looking for a last minute weekend getaway. Given the attractive airfares out of Chicago to Miami and the fact our last cruise was on the Majesty, the alternative 3-day ship, we chose Carnival's Fascination. We arrived at Miami Airport and found the airport to more resemble freight terminal than a portal to tropical paradise. Maybe the airport authority could put out a donation box for paint and carpeting. We stayed at the lovely Miami Hilton Airport, and enjoy its lush landscape and pool the morning of our cruise. Contrary to other advise, I found the cab fare to the Port of Miami the same from our hotel as from the airport and cheaper than the per person bus fares. The bottom line, don't take a bus and pay a per person fare, (all together now) TAKE A CAB. We arrived at the Carnival cruise port (in a cab) at 1pm. Back in the 80's, a wrong turn in the port building could put you in a cargo container bound for a Moroccan freight port. On this day we where greeted by a gleaming new terminal. From the time arrived in our cab (not a bus) it took 15 minutes to check in and board the ship, quickest ever! From the time they we're launched in the 90's, the Joe Farcus designs have held a certain amount of fascination (get it?) to me. The ship did not let me down. Stepping on board I was treated to a soaring 6 story lobby popping with light and color. Making our way to Coconuts buffet, I was impressed the condition of the ship. Having been recently refurbished it could have passed for a brand new ship and was meticulously clean. I recommend grabbing the drink of the day in the goofy tumblers. It adds to the fun and helps make the buffet line food taste better. Before you load up in the first buffet line you should to, explore the 700 seat dining room for other stations featuring salads, pizza and desserts. Subsequent meals in Coconuts were all very good, my favorite being the French cruising on day two. No lame attempts to order in French are necessary, just grab and go! We ate in the Imagination dining room every evening and enjoyed the varied menu and meals. The service by our blond headed male-female Ukrainian serving duo to be efficient and professional. I can say the dining was least as good as on any cruise we have been on. We attended all of the main shows and enjoyed the enthusiastic crew and the color of the productions. I booked a Cat 6 outside guarantee and was blessed with the holy grail of upgrades, a mini suite. I did not know the cabin size until I opened my cabin door and found myself looking at the terminal building through your balcony door, exciting! The room was kept very clear and the room service was promptly 6 minutes late every order, good service over all. Having now cruised on both the Royal Caribbean Majesty the Fascination, I found advantages to both ships. With out question the Majesty has better views from the full circle promenade deck and crows nest lounge. Where the Carnival differs is in its large cabins and boardwalk style grouping of the lounges. We are not nightlife-oriented folks but the flow on the Hollywood Boulevard is just great. You can stroll from the casino past many bars and lounges and end up at the Puttin'On The Ritz Lounge, home of nightly Karaoke. Just outside the busy casino was a nice Martini bar, which offered a great lemon drop. The disco was colorful but the music was so loud it was painful, turning conversations into shouting matches. Shore excursions? I cannot comment, as we never left the wonderful ship. We had been to Nassau numerous times and elected to enjoy ship and the views of the island from the rear pool deck. We opted to carry off our own luggage, which seemed to make disembarkation go quicker. We were on our way to the airport (in a cab) by 9:30 am. We found our cruise on the Fascination to exceed our expectations. Nice ship, nice crew and nice meals, nice! As we waited for our flight home couldn't help ask one more question: What would Carnival's Joe Farcus do with the Miami airport dEcor? Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
Although Celebrity is my cruise line of preference (74 nights in the Baltic, Black, Caribbean, & Mediterranean Seas with them), I am not entirely a Celebrity loyalist and occasionally cruise Carnival (11 nights in the Caribbean Sea ... Read More
Although Celebrity is my cruise line of preference (74 nights in the Baltic, Black, Caribbean, & Mediterranean Seas with them), I am not entirely a Celebrity loyalist and occasionally cruise Carnival (11 nights in the Caribbean Sea with them). Following is a review of my recent three-night Bahamas cruise onboard Carnival's Fascination. The purpose of this cruise was to fulfill a quick and fun escape for my 50th birthday and to that end, the voyage accomplished its goal. Residing in a port city (Miami), a three-night weekend cruise is an easy an affordable escape that doesn't require taking any time away from the office (I only needed to leave work a little early on Friday to make embarkation). Embarkation (3 Stars): I arrived at the Port of Miami at approximately 2:20 p.m. for the scheduled 4:00 p.m. sailing. The check-in line was long; however, was efficiently dispatched by Carnival's staff. It saved time to have completed some of the pre-boarding documents and print my boarding pass in advance of the cruise at carnival.com. I was on the ship by 2:50 p.m., which sailed at approximately 4:30 p.m. The Ship (4 Stars): Although 13 years old, the Fascination was renovated within the past year and has been significantly spruced-up, inclusive of many creature comforts such as new bedding, flat screen LCD televisions, wireless shipboard Internet and mobile phone service (surcharge), and new stateroom and lavatory furnishings. These upgrades are in addition to overall renovations evident throughout the ship. As the Fascination was constructed in the pre-balcony days of the cruise industry, verandah staterooms are few in number. However, for its short itineraries (three and four night sailings), it is not a problem to do without this luxury. That being said, the ship could benefit from the addition of a few peaceful public spaces. The library could have filled this niche; however, was frequently being used by families playing children's board games. The Fascination's dEcor is an unusual mix of glitzy (neon lighting and bold colors) and utilitarian (laminates and fluorescent lighting) design elements, but when all put together the motif seems to work with Carnival's "Fun Ships" theme. Most importantly, the ship is impeccably clean. The Crew (5 Stars): All of my encounters with Carnival's port operations and onboard crew were congenial and they consistently manifested a "can do" attitude and determination to keep the "fun" going. What was particularly enjoyable was their willingness to engage in conversation for no other reason than genuine human interest. They adhered to procedures, but never at the expense of their own personality shining through. Although my needs were few, they were readily accommodated, including being moved to late dinner seating to join another couple I knew from Miami, but whose reservation was not linked with mine. The Food (4 Stars): The high marks Carnival has recently been receiving for its improved cuisine were corroborated on this sailing, particularly the dinners in the main dining rooms. The menu choices were varied and everything was brought to the table cooked as ordered and at the right temperatures and textures. Presentation and quality of the dining room meals was superb. The Coconut Grove (buffet) restaurant amiably served as an option for breakfast and lunch as well as an alternative dinner restaurant. Buffet service was good; however, the breakfast choices were somewhat limited, perhaps due to the short duration of the cruise. Particularly commendable were the grilled Panini sandwiches available at the pizza station. Nightly sushi offerings on the Promenade Deck were similarly well executed. Entertainment (3 Stars): Based on my prior sailings with Carnival, the quality of the entertainment has improved commensurate with the cuisine. The production shows still only rise to the level of the typical fast-paced, high-energy, and plot-less "cruise ship" revues, but are nonetheless entertaining and varied. In addition to the production shows performed by the onboard troupe of singers, dancers, and musicians, the entertainment repertoire included a comedian, a break-dancing duo, ship party bands, piano bar, DJs, a piano/string ensemble, and karaoke (if you count the latter as entertainment). There was a high standard of quality and a sufficient variety of entertainment options so as to appeal to wide range of sensibilities. Fitness Center/Spa (3 Stars): The renovation of the Elemis Spa (and fitness center) was among the areas that benefited from Fascination's recent retrofit and it now sports a sensibility more akin to that of a high-end spa. The fitness area was slightly expanded at the expense of the indoor hot tub and the locker room, showers, saunas, and steam rooms have all been redone in muted tones. All of the gym equipment and weights appeared to be either new or professionally refitted and only one machine (an elliptical trainer) was noted to be out of order. Given the popularity of elliptical trainers, the ship could have used more of these instead of the abundant treadmills; particularly since the elliptical trainers were the only machines that had occasional queues. Having booked a massage for this itinerary's one sea day, I can attest to its consistency in delivery to that of those offered by Elemis. It was relaxing, serviceable, but certainly not the best massage I ever experienced. It started and ended as scheduled and concluded with the de rigor sales pitch of Elemis products; all of which I declined to purchase. Activities (3 Stars): The daily "Carnival Capers" listed abundant shipboard activities; however, as such activities are not my thing, I am unable to provide testament regarding their quality; only that the schedule was rife with a variety of typical shipboard fodder for the takers. Port of Call/Shore Excursion (3 Stars): Three-night itineraries are less about the ports of call (in this case "port") and more about the shipboard experience. As I have been to Nassau several times and as it has a climate and topography similar to my hometown of Miami, I do not find it particularly novel; however, it offers enough to do for a day's stay. On the three-night sailing, the Fascination lingers in port until the wee hours of the next day for those wishing to spend additional time onshore at the casinos. This extended port stay was fine for the three-night sailing as more than one port of call would have overwhelmed such a brief itinerary. I booked the Atlantis Aquaventure shore excursion through Carnival and enjoyed it immensely. For complete reviews of this excursion (including mine), access: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=636931 Disembarkation (5 Stars): I opted for Carnival's self-assist disembarkation, which is a great for those wishing to exit the ship and be on their way early. The only caveat of this option is that you have to be able to carry the entirety of your belongings off of the ship; a task very doable on a three-night cruise. Inasmuch as I enjoy cruising, when it's over, it's over and I prefer not being the last one to leave the party. Self-assist disembarkation is an ideal fit for this mindset. Consequently, I walked off of the ship at 6:45 a.m. and made it to the office with time to spare. I cannot attest to how the rest of disembarkation went, but given the orderly prelude, I imagine it was smooth for all guests, regardless of the method they selected. All in All (4 Stars): While it would be unfair to compare this Carnival three-night Bahamas cruise to a Celebrity fourteen-night Mediterranean cruise, it certainly exceeded my expectations in every manner. Yes, there are distinct differences between the two brands; however, the commonalities are also greater than one might imagine. Having taken two of Celebrity's four-night Caribbean cruises in the past, IMHO the length of the voyage has more to do with the overall cruise experience than the line. I found the festive, party atmosphere to be evident on both lines when it came down to their respective, weekend getaway sensibilities. However, Carnival had more outlets to engage the partiers. Even on this three-nighter, it wasn't long into the voyage that the joy of the cruise experience infiltrated my consciousness. While I remain largely loyal to Celebrity, I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss Carnival, as this recent experience was tremendous value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
My husband and I have cruised on NCL and Princess prior to this Carnival cruise. I guess we were spoiled because we will never, ever sail on Carnival again. Embarkation: Our group had priority boarding because we were going to a wedding. ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised on NCL and Princess prior to this Carnival cruise. I guess we were spoiled because we will never, ever sail on Carnival again. Embarkation: Our group had priority boarding because we were going to a wedding. We were shuffled around between 3 or 4 different employees before we found someone who actually knew what to do. We were issued sign and sail cards and a separate room key. Other cruise lines use one card for both, which is far more convenient. We were able to go to our rooms right away even though we were told we couldn't, so that was nice. Stateroom: We had an interior cabin, which was fine. My husband said he thought it was slightly larger than the other cruise lines. The bathroom was no bigger though, and was kind of out of date. There was a weird odor coming from the toilet the entire time, and stopped working on 3 separate occasions. I noticed that the public toilets all smelled too, like sewage. It was quite disgusting. Service: I'd say the service was average. Our room steward introduced himself to us and was pleasant, but he kept calling me by the wrong name. At lease he tried though. Pretty much everyone else just walked around and was less than helpful. It seems that most of the employees of Carnival have NO idea what's going on at any given time. We called for service on our toilet twice. The first time they came to fix it, they left a mess in our bathroom that was truly disgusting. The second time, my husband ended up fixing it himself because no one ever came to our aid. Our steward called 4 hours later and asked what was going on with it. By then, it was too late. Dining: We ate in the dining room 2 out of the 3 nights. The food in there was just ok, nothing special. The drink waiter came around once and that was it. The waiter was nice, but not friendly. He didn't do anything to make the experience special. The one night that we didn't eat in the dining room, we went to the buffet at the Coconut restaurant and it was terrible! The selection is awful, and what you do get is not that great. On other cruise lines, the buffet was quite extensive and tasty. The way the buffet worked on the Fascination was that you had to wait in line....a very, very long line. On other cruise lines, the buffet was set up in different stations, and you didn't ever have to wait in much of a line at all. I didn't eat breakfast one morning because the line was too long. The buffet on the pool deck had hot dogs, burgers, etc that were really tasty, but we waited about a half hour in line. Such a waste of time! Room service selection was actually pretty good, and the quality was good too. It arrived in our room in a reasonable amount of time. Entertainment: We pretty much hung out in the Diamonds are Forever Disco and the casino. The Disco played current music which was nice, we actually had a good time there. Many members of our group won some cash I thought the communication on the ship was horrible. We were never introduced to the cruise director, we received very little information about how to debark the ship. The boat drill was a joke, in a real emergency no one would know what to do. There were numerous on-board announcements that were made, but if you were in your room at the time, you could not hear them. We probably missed a ton of information that we needed because of that. Also, we had asked that the gratuity be removed from our account, as we preferred to distribute it as we saw fit, not as they saw fit. I went to the purser's desk to have that done, they supposedly did it, but when we got our statement at the end of the cruise, it was still on there. We never saw or met our Maitre'd so I didn't feel he deserved a gratuity. Disembarkation: Mostly smooth. We opted to take our own luggage which worked out just fine. The only negative part was that we were never told what time we absolutely HAD to be off the boat. Rumor has it that it was 9:30 am, but our room steward knocked on our door at 8 and wanted us out then, which I did not appreciate seeing as how we were not even dressed or showered yet. Other than that minor incident, disembarkation was fine. We were off the boat in about 10 minutes or so. While we had a good time on the cruise, it was because we made our own fun, not because Carnival helped in any way. We will definitely not sail with Carnival ever again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
Flew to Miami (and boy are my arms tired. LOL) from Minneapolis. Arrived in plenty of time. Had transfers and was whisked away to the big ol bus.My friend and I enjoyed a short, pleasant ride to the Miami Port to board the beautiful ... Read More
Flew to Miami (and boy are my arms tired. LOL) from Minneapolis. Arrived in plenty of time. Had transfers and was whisked away to the big ol bus.My friend and I enjoyed a short, pleasant ride to the Miami Port to board the beautiful Fascination, Carnival Ship!!!! Easy does it. The driver took care of the bags, nice comfortable bus ride. All is good so far. Since we booked a suite, we were VIPs. Easy check in. Took maybe ten minutes. Received our keys, info. Boarded. Wow. A truly beautiful Ship. We had a drink (as is our tradition on boarding) at the Atrium Bar. Good experience. Met a nice couple right away and exchanged chit chat. Found our room, with balcony. All is good. Met our Cabin Stewardess. The trip was fantastic.We highly highly recommend the shore excursion, Blackbeard's Island Snorkel. We booked that one and went the next morning upon docking in Nassau. Loved it. Everything was a 10. We loved the Island, the lunch, the Guide, the people we were with, snorkeling surpassed our wildest imaginations. I would book this one again!!! We found ourselves in Nassau the rest of the day. Up till dining. We dined at our table at the 5:45 time, left again for Nassau nightlife afterwards. Went to Senior Froggs. Recommend this place. Great for a cocktail (or 2) and we preferred the outside Porch setting on water to inside. Loved it. We found a Hard rock and collected Tshirts. Poked around the city for a bit. Most folks opted for Atlantis Resort on Paradise Isle. Maybe next time, but we enjoyed our Island Snorkeling day and poking around Nassau at night. While there were many Police Officers present,some rowdy types around, we felt totally safe. Found the waitstaff at Senior Froggs very friendly, service was top notch but watch out for the dude in the Clown suit, He'll try to give you Shots and more shots of different flavored Tequilas. LOL Regarding the Ship, the Maitre De was top notch, he called himself 007 and he was the almost as handsome as my partner, very enchanting and we were able to get a cozy table for two. Dining and food on this ship was a 5 star for me. No complaints. Our room was a suite with balcony and we did have partial blockage, I knew that. Ok, we still enjoyed every balcony moment. Our favorite watering hole was The Piano Bar with Roger!!!! Roger that!!!!!! This guy was amazing. Wow, there is nothing more social and fun that a Piano Bar. You Piano Bar people know what of I speak!!!!! Bill and Meagan know what I'm talking about. I found out about this site, thanks to those two. Hi to Bill and Megan. We sang a few with them. (I think they were singing? possibly lip synching.LOL) Anyway, Highly Recommend the Piano Bar if you go. Also, Brian and I enjoyed listening to the Karaoke Bar at a distance in the Beverly Hills Bar. I spotted a few celebrities on board this one, too. No names though, I promised not to Tell. After all, the theme here is "hollywood" and Movies. Have to say this Fascination Ship is one of Carnival's Best, my opinion. I have cruised many times. I do like Carnival overall. For fun, consistency and glamour. Also, have to say how easy they made it to Get off the ship. Best ever. They made everything easy and I do like the Salon. I had the best neck and shoulder massage I've ever encountered. This is the best Caribbean cruise I've encountered. Next time Brian and I will do the Key West, Cayman Isles one. On the Fascination, of course. It was Fascination, I know. Worth the time, money!! Go for it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
Just got off the Fascination, my first 3 day cruise. In my party there was a 24 year old, 27 year old and a 19 year old. We have cruised before but only on the 7 days, larger ships. Embarkation: We arrived at the port at 11 am, there was ... Read More
Just got off the Fascination, my first 3 day cruise. In my party there was a 24 year old, 27 year old and a 19 year old. We have cruised before but only on the 7 days, larger ships. Embarkation: We arrived at the port at 11 am, there was a small line, but nothing major. We got on in less than 20 minutes. We did not have any luggage to check in, since we only a small bag each, along with a cooler (one of the ones you fold up) filled with soda and water. Room: We were on the Riviera deck. The ship was recently refurbished, the showers were larger than expected. I liked them better than the ones on the Liberty and Valor, they seemed larger. Not enough storage space in the bathrooms for your regular bathroom things, but it is only a 3 day cruise, so we packed light. Slept great!!! Love the Carnival bedding, and there was no noise. Food: When we got on, we went to have lunch on the Lido. I was not impressed with the food on the lido, however everyone else in my party was, so it could be because I am picky. The grill was the typical grill, I loved it. The pizza is another thing I am not a fan of, in any ship, but it was also the typical pizza. The calzones were great! The dinning food was amazing! Shows and entertainment: I love the shows, on all the ships. I did not like the embarkation show on this one, but I did love the Latin and the far from over. I think the best dancers are on this ship, along with great singers! I was disappointed with the piano bar, every time I would go over the piano man was not there. I would go at all the hours that the capers stated it opened, and it was not. L I am a big piano bar lover, so that was kind of sad. The nightclubs were the usual, a taste of Asia had great live music, it's a must see. Nassau: We did Cable Beach, we wanted something quieter than Paradise Island, since we had been there before. We took a cab, they are $5 a person, plus tip. Not recommended. After doing that once, we decided to just take the bus #10, and its only a $1 per person, and they are comfortable, with AC and music videos playing. We felt safe, everyone was friendly, and they take you everywhere as well at a better price. There was a festival going on near the pier, we went ahead and got a chance to eat great food and hang out with the locals. There was dancing, food, and you got a chance to learn about the culture and the typical dances and costumes that they wear. The festival was at the Fish Fry. The restaurants around the Fish Fry were great as well. Tried out one of the best desserts I have ever had, "Guava Duff" with rum. Yummy! It was great because I really wanted to do something typical from the Bahamas, and the Fish Fry was the best opportunity for that. J Fun Day at Sea: The pools were crowded, but you could find a deck chair near the pool. However the adult only hot tubs are not enforced, and all the pools and tubs were invaded by children, so I just laid out and enjoyed the sun. I played some miniature golf, and that was fun. I loved the observation deck, and spent a majority of my day doing that. I loved the ice carving, and the hairy man contest was the typical, funny at parts. Debarkation: I did the self debarkation, and it was no line no wait. It was the quickest and best way of getting off the ship I have ever experienced. We were off the ship in 10 minutes. I think I will try that from now on! Hope this was helpful, feel free to ask questions. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
I just did the April 28 sailing and had a better time than expected. This was my 4th cruise...the previous 3 on RCCl, so I was getting ready for disappointment but it didn't happen all that much. I had the R category room which ... Read More
I just did the April 28 sailing and had a better time than expected. This was my 4th cruise...the previous 3 on RCCl, so I was getting ready for disappointment but it didn't happen all that much. I had the R category room which worked out real well because I was close to the gangway and got good exercise going up the stairs. I like that the ship was small and you don't have to walk ten miles a day like on the Royal biggies. The room was very clean and my steward was Stanislava from Bulgaria, I think. The sheets were excellent quality. The room also appeared to have new carpet and a flat screen tv which was cool. The shower water was actually hot unlike on RCCL... same with the jacuzzis. The Dining... My only area of real complaint... I asked the maitre'D to sit me with some young people and I ended up with about 7 old ladies, but they were nice. The dining room was 2/3 empty the whole cruise. The dinner service was much more professional on all 3 RCCL ships I've been on so I know it was no fluke. A guy came up to me and didn't say anything so i told him im just gonna have water because i didn't know he was our main waiter. I thought he was the drink server. He didn't give any speech about the meal or recommendations or squat. When they all got together to sing only half of them sang and didn't know the words. I tried to order a mojito but they said they didn't have it so I had to steal everyones' mint leaves and put together the other ingredients and make it myself to prove they were just being lazy. Ok. The night club had good music and the karaoke lounge was filled every night. There was also a live band in a separate lounge for the 40's+ crowd. The shows were excellent and the female lead singer sang like Christina Aguilera. They had a comedian though that was poor and people were walking out. The casino was full and had fun games but no live poker, just a video poker table with 3/6 hold em'. The outside decks had alot of empty space which they fill up with lounge chairs. Not a whole lot of amenities. The slide was fun, though. If you went out to the very back deck you'd be lucky to see a drink server and the bar wasn't ever open that I remember. The food in the buffet was pretty good. They had a custom deli with corned beef, smoked salmon,paninis and a bunch of cool items that they would make up for you. There was also a sushi stand that was good but only open right before dinner so I think most people missed it. I enjoyed the extended stay in Nassau from 8am to 5am the next morning which you don't really get on RCCL. Don't waste your time on the catamaran Snorkel for $45. They take you out to a flat area where there is not much fish..no real reef, just sand and plants mostly...only saw Jacks and Sgt Majors. So, afterward I went to Atlantis and won $40 on Blackjack(always quit while yer ahead)which I promptly lost back on the ship. Also saw the fish tanks but it costs $55 to go to the predator lagoon and the beach! All the cruise employees were at Senor frogs that night for reggae music and dancing..It was more fun onboard. About 3 hours after leaving Nassau we turned around and had to disembark a sick passenger. So that's all folks!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
Just returned home from a short cruise on the Fascination. This was my third cruise, but first time with Carnival, it was my husbands first cruise. We flew in the day that our cruise left, which was a first for me but everything went very ... Read More
Just returned home from a short cruise on the Fascination. This was my third cruise, but first time with Carnival, it was my husbands first cruise. We flew in the day that our cruise left, which was a first for me but everything went very well. We used Carnivals transportation to get to the port, no problems there! Embarkation: This went pretty quickly, it was strange to me that they give you a room key along with your sign & sail card. I am used to having one card for everything. We arrived a little after 11:00 and were on the ship by 11:30. Cabin: We were on the Empress deck, which was nice because we were close to most everything! Our cabin was very nice, and a little bigger than Royal Caribbean! The bathroom was also bigger, which was nice. Our room steward Rommy was wonderful. He always made it a point to greet us, and kept our room clean! Food: In my opinion the buffet food was not "great", it seemed to be the exact same thing every day. Not only that, there just wasn't much of a selection. I guess I am just used to Royal Caribbean's buffet's being huge and stocked with everything you can imagine, this was sure not the case with Carnival!! We ate in the dining room for diner and this was good, still not as good as Royal, but not bad. Our waiter and assistant waiter were nice, but not wonderful. But they do work very hard!! Entertainment: This failed the test!! The entertainment was no where to be found. In fact we never even saw the entertainment staff, only one member and that was at the comedy show. Never saw the cruise director either. I was very disappointed by this, and is one big reason I will continue to cruise with Royal. We were left to entertain ourselves the whole cruise! The entertainment is one of the things I look most forward to on a ship! Service: Service was just okay. I noticed right away that this ship was not nearly as friendly as the crew on any of the other ships I have been on. We never received a simple hello from any member of the staff, aside from our room steward. Everyone seemed so unhappy to be there!! Some were even just down right rude! Yet another reason I will continue to cruise with Royal Overall cruise: We did make the best of the cruise and still had a nice time, but it sure wasn't even close to being worth the money we paid for this. I was not impressed with Carnival at all, they had a chance to win my business, but I am going to continue to be "Loyal to Royal" Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
This was a spring break cruise, so keep that in mind! On the cruise were me and my younger sister, both college or grad school age. We are from the midwest, so were looking forward to SUN and WARMTH. We flew into Miami late on Wednesday ... Read More
This was a spring break cruise, so keep that in mind! On the cruise were me and my younger sister, both college or grad school age. We are from the midwest, so were looking forward to SUN and WARMTH. We flew into Miami late on Wednesday night and took a cab directly to the hotel, Howard Johnson in Miami Beach. Cabs are EXPENSIVE in Miami, I should have remembered how far apart everything is. When we got to the hotel, there were drunk spring breakers stumbling all over the place. It must have been because it was a cheap hotel. I don't know how old the average spring breaker is these days, but I swear the kids looked like they were 16! And they were loud and obnoxious and made me feel old (and I'm only 25!) Anyway, our day in Miami was really fun. We laid out by the pool and on the beach all day. It was about 80 something and a GREAT beach day. We went looking for a grocery store after we were completely fried, and bought some snacks for the ship (which of course we didn't need since they feed you every five seconds) plus some liquor to take onboard. We then went back to the hotel to get ready for our night on the town on Ocean Drive! I've been to Miami once before and remembered how much fun Ocean Drive is, and I wasn't disappointed. We took a city bus and it was easy and cheap. The food was awesome, etc etc. Then we went back to the hotel to get some sleep before getting on the ship on Friday! Embarkation was supposed to start at 1:00pm, but we got there early because we were at the hotel, and it was raining, and we really didn't have anything else to do. We took a cab to the ship and were VERY excited to get on board! As soon as we got out of the taxi, we were accosted by porters (I think because we were so early they had nobody else to bother). They grabbed my suitcase which did not yet have my room tags on it. I filled it out and handed it to the porter, but later found out that he didn't even attach it and just threw my bag in with everyone elses. Not that big of a deal, except I had to go look for my bag later after my sister had already gotten hers. The rest of the embarkation was extremely simple and easy. We weren't carrying any alcohol with us because of the alcohol policy, but they didn't check any of our bags or anything else. It would have been easy to just walk on board with 3 full bottles (although we were sneaky and put it in water bottles in our checked bags). We were some of the first people on the boat, but couldn't get to our cabin until 1:30. So we had some lunch (inside, because it was still raining) and then got to go to our cabin. It was so cute, on the bottom floor and an inside cabin, but not that small and our steward kept everything so neat. He even folded our clothes and lined up our shoes! So nice. We then went to tour the ship and have a few cocktails! (Because no matter how much alcohol you bring with you, there's something about a drink with an umbrella that makes you want to spend $7 a pop). The lifeboat drill happened next, with lots of people too drunk to stay awake for the full 25 minutes! Then we headed back up to the Lido Deck for the sail away party. The reggae band that played all weekend was a highlight for me! They were awesome. Dinner was great, we had lobster the first night, and our waiter was great. (He may have also been excited that he ended up waiting on a table with 6 single spring break college girls). They did a good job seating us, I guess, since the other girls at our table were from the midwest and also on spring break. Would have been nice to have some guys around though! After dinner, both my sister and I (and lots of others on the ship, judging from the sparsely populated clubs) got pretty seasick. There was a big thunderstorm outside, which was fun to watch but not so fun to feel swaying all night long. After trying to have fun for a few hours, we finally cut our losses and got some seasickness pills from the purser's office (free, btw). Those had us knocked out pretty fast! The next morning we woke up to a mercifully non-rocking ship, in Nassau, Bahamas. We got off the ship at about 10 (no lines or anything) and headed out with the idea of going to the beach. As soon as we passed out onto the street, we were besieged by taxi drivers. We decided to go to Atlantis, waited for a few minutes to get a full van, and then headed to the beach. It was empty when we got there, but gradually got more and more crowded throughout the day. We got some rum cocktails from a bar on the beach, drank them, and then passed out for the rest of the afternoon. Which was fun except for the extreme sunburn from not moving all day! We finally decided we had had enough sun and headed through Atlantis for some shopping and then back to the ship for formal night. After getting all dressed up (which was sort of painful because of the sunburn), we went to eat. Everyone was moderately dressed up, and a new couple was at our table. They had been drinking all day long, so couldn't really talk, but they seemed nice enough. We found out the two other girls at our table were in a cabin right next to ours, and decided to go out with them to look for some happening clubs in Nassau. We headed out at about 9 and each bar we went to was emptier than the last! I guess their nightlife heats up pretty late at night. We found some exclusive club in a basement, but unfortunately were the only ones there! After dancing for awhile, we finally gave up and headed back to the ship for the deck party. It was actually pretty fun (although not that many people showed up). There was a lipsynching contest, which one of the girls we were out with won, and some other funny dance things like a congo line. The next morning, Saturday, was the Fun Day at sea. We went and staked out our deck chairs at about 10:30 and settled in for some MORE sun. There were a few activities on the deck (like the hairy chest contest, etc), but it was mostly pretty quiet, just sunbathing and drinking. Fun! At dinner we met another couple who hadn't been to dinner the other two nights, but they were not that friendly. After dinner we went and watched some karaoke and looked at the other clubs, but like previous nights, the club was pretty much dominated by teenagers (even though they're supposed to card...) The band (Asia something?) was really good but after a couple of nights they pretty much play the same music. The next morning, we had planned to sleep in because our flight didn't leave until 3. Unfortunately, they started making announcements every 10 minutes at 7am. So, we finally got up and packed and went to the Lido Deck for breakfast before we had to leave the ship! It was so sad. Anyway, we had to get off at about 10:30 and headed to the airport (there are cheap vans waiting outside for groups). All in all, a great vacation! Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
Background: This is our third cruise, second with Carnival. We are an early-40's couple with two children. Our children did not accompany us on this cruise. We booked this cruise about 30 days prior to sailing, as a last minute ... Read More
Background: This is our third cruise, second with Carnival. We are an early-40's couple with two children. Our children did not accompany us on this cruise. We booked this cruise about 30 days prior to sailing, as a last minute getaway (early anniversary celebration!). TRAVEL TO PORT: We actually flew into West Palm Beach International the day before the cruise because the air fare was much less than flying into Miami. Even with renting a car, we saved quite a bit over flying into Miami International. We had a non-stop flight from DC that was crowded, but no problems - landed a bit early in fact. Always a plus. We booked a room at the Holiday Inn Downtown Port of Miami, overlooking the cruise terminals. The hotel is obviously older, but still offers a fantastic view of the terminal! Because DH is a Priority Club member, we were upgraded from our original Queen standard room to one of the King demi-suites on 9th floor overlooking the terminals. What a wonderful sight to see Majesty of the Seas doing the "spin" at 6:30am on sail-away day! Apparently Fascination (our ship) had docked earlier in the morning, and I missed it. The hotel has wonderful accommodations, and we enjoyed our stay there very much. We wandered across the street to the Bayside Market and had dinner at the Bubba Gump restaurant (if you love shrimp, this is the place for you!) and the food was about at the expected level for a chain restaurant, not outstanding, but good. EMBARKATION: We chose to park our rented car at the cruise terminal, so that we wouldn't have to deal with obtaining another one the morning we docked. Parking was $15/day paid in cash when you park. The garage is a multi-story facility with ample parking. We had no problems finding a parking space. We carried our luggage from the car to the terminal with no issues and then found a porter to get our cabin assignment (we had booked a 4A gty), redid our tags and waved goodbye to our luggage very very quickly. At this point it was approximately 11:30 - 11:45am. Check in was very smooth and painless. I must state that Carnival does do a better job in organizing check-in than RCCL. After preliminary check-in we were directed to the second level to pick up our seapasses. How wonderful to be welcomed back by the representative! While we were seated in the embarkation area, my DH noticed someone sitting a few rows over and swore he knew this person. Turns out he was right! We'd come all the way from So. Maryland to Miami only to run into people who lived 10 minutes away from us! It was great to have people to hang around with on the trip! Probably about 15 minutes after we sat down in the lounge, they allowed the first group to board the ship! We were on our way (after the stop for the required embarkation photo)! CABIN: As mentioned before, we had booked a 4A GTY through a major membership club. With their discount and our past guest status, the rate was unbelievable! We were actually able to fly to FL, rent a car and take the cruise for less than we had originally planned to spend for two nights in the Poconos! When we arrived at the ship we had been assigned to Cabin M10, which is a 5A porthole oceanview! We were very happy with the upgrade and glad to see a window of sorts! The new bedding was wonderful - so soft and cushy! Cabin was ready for occupancy right at 1:30pm and was spotless. It was maintained that way through the entire trip and we had a wonderful Stewardess and Asst. Steward who always had a smile on their faces and in their voices! The only drawbacks to the cabin are the walk from the nearest elevator (I looked at it as exercise); the increased motion (DH and I loved it - like being rocked to sleep) and the thruster noise (about shook us out of bed the final morning). One advantage of the thruster noise is you didn't need an alarm clock! SHIP OVERALL: Overall the ship was wonderfully maintained and the refurbishment last year was well done. Lots of neon and mirrors. The art work hung throughout the ship was spectacular. The pool area was well maintained and sparkling clean. Lots of deck chairs on sea day (not to many chair hogs around either!) and always plentiful waiters to get you a drink! FOOD: The food was wonderful! We had lobster and shrimp the first night in the Imagination dining room - yummy! DH asked for and got an extra lobster tail. The lobster was perfectly prepared - not rubbery or chewy. The rest of the meals were just a good, and of course the desserts were yummy yummy yummy! My favorite was the Melting Chocolate cake of course! DH had the Grand Marnier Souffle and liked it very much as well. Only sour note for desserts was the last night, they served everyone Baked Alaska (basically Neapolitan ice cream with frosting over it) to everyone with out offering any other choices. We were at a table with a couple who couldn't eat ice cream so they were slightly disappointed. Personally, I don't each much ice cream and would have liked something else to have been offered. The coconut bar & grill was about the expected level for a buffet type setting. What I did notice is that there is a lot of seating - never had to struggle to find a table, and the wait staff is very on top of clearing the empties. Many people stopped at the outdoor section of the line, so the inside was never that crowded. Be aware that there are two sides to the buffet line and they offer different food, so check both - you're sure to find something you'll like! If you don't the salad bar was excellent throughout the entire cruise. And the pizza is to die for! Yummy with a capital Y! Didn't get a chance to try the deli, but looked good. From 5:30-8:00 pm each evening on the Promenade deck they served sushi. There was a limited selection (3-4 different ones each night), but they were generally good, and made a good snack to hold us til our late seating dinner. The only real disappointment for the food service was the seated breakfast in the Sensation dining room. We got there the first morning about half an hour after it began and were seated right away. I didn't like the fact that we were seated with a group that had already ordered and begun their breakfast - this was just awkward. My biggest disappointment was in the Eggs Benedict that I ordered. It had obviously been prepared and plated quite a while before I ordered it - the hollandaise sauce had actually hardened on it! Having worked in food service before, I understand the need to prep, but surely they could have prepped everything and then assembled the EB when it was ordered? Would have been much tastier. Also the waiter working our section seemed much more interested in talking to another server than watching the table - I hadn't ordered juice or coffee with my breakfast, and my water ran out midway through the meal and I could never get his attention to refill it! ENTERTAINMENT: We only got to see a handful of shows, and I can honestly say that Carnival far outshines RCCL in this respect as well! The production values are phenomenal! Midnight comedy show the last night was disappointing - very G rated, and there were hecklers who created problems. By the time they were "asked to leave" the show had basically been ruined for everyone else and it seemed that the comedian decided to wrap it up after only about a total of 25 or 30 minutes on stage. We generally don't participate in any of the trivia, newlywed type on-board shows, but saw them on a continual loop in the cabin and they looked good. PORT OF CALL: We docked in Nassau @ 7:30am Saturday morning and were cleared to leave the ship around 8:30am. We had no planned excursions and were actually using a walking tour that was posted here, on CruiseCritic, in the Bahamas board (thanks Zydecocruiser!). We just took our time and wandered around, saw the Queens Staircase and Fort Fincastle, among others. My DH wanted to visit Graycliff to see the cigar workshop, so we did that as well. Also did some minor shopping for souvenirs etc. Basically this was intended to be a very laid-back, no hurries-no worries getaway, so we didn't intend to do much at all - Mission accomplished! We left Nassau @ 8:00am on Sunday (everyone must have been back on board - no names called over the PA) for a slow journey back to Miami. DISEMBARKATION: We did general disembarkation. We got to Miami earlier than expected (actually were doing the "spin" at around 5:40am!), so were cleared to leave ship around 8:00am. I don't know if this is typical, but it was wonderful for us! We actually disembarked around 8:40am and joined the long line for customs (Inspiration was also disembarking, so two ships twice the number of pax = long lines). Found our luggage with no problems and after standing in a very slow, long line decided to pay a porter to "help" us with our luggage - if you are unaware of this, using the porter will move you to the front of the line very quickly. We were through customs and in our car pulling out of the garage by 9:30am. Since we were off so much earlier than anticipated, I called our airline carrier and was happily surprised by their help in moving us to earlier flights which got us home two hours earlier than originally planned! On a side note, DH and I packed the maximum allowed limit of alcohol through our luggage and had the bag tagged fragile. Other than being opened and inspected by TSA (guess they were hoping for something they liked?), no problems (I was having images of booze soaked clothing having to be thrown away!) were encountered. SUMMARY: This was a great getaway cruise, and we'll probably do the same on or a similar one again next year with our kids! Go on this one and you'll enjoy yourself as much as you want too! Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
This was our second sailing on the Fascination. I was considering the Majesty of the Seas for this weekend getaway but chose the Fascination since she had recently been in dry dock. A little background on the cruisers: I'm 37. This ... Read More
This was our second sailing on the Fascination. I was considering the Majesty of the Seas for this weekend getaway but chose the Fascination since she had recently been in dry dock. A little background on the cruisers: I'm 37. This was my fifth cruise on Carnival. I've also sailed on Royal Caribbean twice. My husband is 41 and this was his third cruise on Carnival and he cruised once on Royal Caribbean. We live in Fort Lauderdale, so we drove to the port. My husband dropped me off by the curb with the luggage and he parked in the lot. It was $45.00, payable in advance, for the three days. The porter took my bag right away. We got there early (11:00AM) and walked right up to the check-in counter. We waited about 45 minutes before we were allowed onboard. Embarkation is on the Empress deck (and we were in E143  outside cabin). They added a piano and bar in the Atrium . We dropped a small bag off in the room and headed up to the lido deck for lunch. I am not a big fan of buffets. Like last time, the food was mediocre. I had a burger and some fries and it was fine. My husband had a little of a few things and said he wasn't impressed. However, like a lot of others, I don't cruise for the food (but I do enjoy good food!!). That said, I think the food on Royal Caribbean is much better. I did not see any hand sanitizing stations near the entrances, but do carry my own. I am not aware that anyone got sick on this sailing. As far as the room goes, I had pre-ordered birthday decorations for my husband and they were up and I was pleased with them. Our room steward was friendly and did a great job. There was a new flat panel TV. In the bathroom, I noticed that the sink area had been redone. It looked like the doors on the closet had been redone since last time. Gone was the bright orange trim in the room. The desk area was also redone in a marble type of top. We chose the 6:15 seating and were assigned to the Sensation dining room. We love to play craps and our rule is, we only gamble after dinner, so we chose this seating. The waiter was okay and the busboy left a lot to be desired. He rarely came back to refill our drinks and oftentimes we had to ask for our waiter for the refills. He didn't seem to be happy with his busboy. The food in the dining room was served cold/lukewarm side and there is nothing (with the exception of the molten chocolate cake and the birthday cake I ordered for my husband) that I would recommend or rave about. I had pre-ordered a chocolate cake for my husband's birthday and it arrived with our dessert. The chocolate cake was delicious. After dinner on Friday night, we headed to the casino. As I stated earlier, we enjoy playing craps. The dealers were wonderful! Pleasant and fun, they really made the trip. They remembered our bets and cheered us on. I don't understand why the casino doesn't rate you on the tables, only with the Ocean Players Club for the slots. I mentioned this to the casino manger and he didn't seem to understand what I was talking about. When we returned to the room, we were hungry and ordered room service about 11:30PM. It arrived within 10 minutes. The BLT's were cold and dry. Saturday was Nassau. We had breakfast on the Lido deck. I had an omelet made and enjoyed it. The only sliced cheese I saw was Swiss. I was surprised they didn't have at American or cheddar with it. The rest of the food was cold and had no flavor. My husband said the eggs tasted powdered. I don't think the coffee machine was working right, because the coffee came out lukewarm. I mentioned it to one of the servers, but he didn't seem to understand what I was saying. I'm not a huge coffee drinker, so it wasn't that big a deal, but I do enjoy a cup in the morning. We headed over to the Atlantis just to look around and do some shopping. I cannot stand how pushy and rude they are to you when you get through that Festival shopping area. They treat you like cattle. They will not let a cab go until it's full and you're crammed in like sardines. We were waiting for about 15 minutes with two other couples before we were finally allowed to follow the cab driver to his cab. We spent a few hours there and then headed to the straw market. I hadn't been there in years and now I remember why. I have no desire to go back. The stalls are cramped and if you have claustrophobia (I don't, but I was getting panic attacks in there) I suggest that you stay out of there. My only goal there was to find some purses, which I did. We got back to the boat around 2PM and had lunch on the Lido. Lunch was the same as on Friday. We relaxed on deck and then got ready for dinner, which was formal. Formal night was a joke and I am not trying to start a debate as to how one should dress, as I can understand both sides. My husband and I are both professionals and get dressed for work every day. We also have formal affairs several times a year where we get dressed. My husband owns his own tuxedo. Did I want to get dressed for formal night on such a short cruise? Not really. But I didn't want to eat dinner in the buffet or order room service either. My husband wore a dark suit and I dressed appropriately for dinner. I was amazed at how many men considered a collared Polo-type of shirt with jeans and flip flops formal. Some of the women looked gorgeous, but most looked like they couldn't be bothered and dressed the part. To each his own. I did see one man in a tuxedo. I think that on a three day cruise, formal night should be done away with. We decided to check out the show that night for a bit. The juggler/comedian was very funny, as was the stand up comic. Sunday was a sea day. We had breakfast about 9AM in the dining room and it was much better than the buffet. I met up with one of our table mates and we headed over to the casino for a bit. My husband headed upstairs to relax in the sun. We met for lunch in the dining room at 2PM. My table mate and I played in the slots tournament and I came in second. We had our last dinner in the dining room, which was a repeat of the prior two evenings. The servers did their song (which you can tell was lip synched and pre-recorded) and that was it. We chose to carry our luggage off ourselves and were off the boat at 8AM and home by 9AM. I would definitely suggest this option. I think it also helped that we were on the Empress deck. From what I understand, this ship was sold out. The ship handled it well and you would have never known that the ship was sailing at full capacity. I believe there was a Motley Crue convention or get together or something because there were a lot of people wearing tags that said Crue and I heard there was a concert of some sort (but it wasn't listed in the Capers.) I noticed that there was some chogging going on on Sunday, but my husband said that he had no problem getting a lounge chair on the deck above the pool deck. When I cruised this ship in May I wrote in my review that for a three day cruise, I would choose another ship before the Fascination. I only chose the Fascination over the Majesty of the Seas (they are the only two going out of Miami on three day cruises right now) because she had recently been in dry dock. Our next three day cruise will most likely be on the Majesty as I understand she is headed into drydock. I was not overly impressed with the refurbishment and the food left much to be desired. I did like the fact that the ship was small and easy to navigate, however, if I were on this ship for seven days, I would be bored out of my mind. We are planning on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas seven day eastern Caribbean cruise in December. I think that for a first time cruiser, or a cruiser looking just to get away for a few days (as we often are), this ship serves its purpose. If you are looking for a huge ship with all the bells and whistles, this is not the ship for you. I think that covers it. I'll be happy to answer whatever questions you may have. I do have the Capers for Friday and Sunday (don't know what happened to Saturday) so if you want a copy, let me know and I will scan and email it to you if you ask. Happy cruising! Stacey Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
We were on the Fascination 12/15-12/18 and we had booked an ocean view cabin for $50 less than our original inside cabin by constantly checking rates. This was my 7th Carnival cruise, one had her 3rd and the last was a virgin cruiser. ... Read More
We were on the Fascination 12/15-12/18 and we had booked an ocean view cabin for $50 less than our original inside cabin by constantly checking rates. This was my 7th Carnival cruise, one had her 3rd and the last was a virgin cruiser. There were 3 females in the room ages 27-34. To some, this might have been a tight squeeze, but we're pretty low maintenance and it worked out fine except for the fact that there is only 1 outlet in the entire room. In the past, there have been 2 - one in the room and 1 in the bath - but I think the upgrades to the bathroom (which were desperately needed) took that outlet away. We were supposed to fly into FLL the day before our cruise. I was on a separate flight and arrived 30 minutes late due to rainy weather across the country and since they were on a different flight, the other girls were diverted to Miami due to the weather and they arrived 3 hours late. We had a town car transfer from FLL for $87 (including tax & tip) to the Clevelander on South Beach. The Clevelander at 10th & Ocean, to us, was not worth the $180 we paid but the location was great and the service impeccable! A complimentary welcome drink, ocean front location and right in the middle of everything suited us just fine! The room was small and the bathroom tiny! The TV didn't get the best reception in the world but we weren't there to watch it! The night we were in South Beach there was a 5k race that had an 80's one hit wonder band performing at every mile and one of the stops was right in front of the Clevelander which was entertaining. We went to Automatic Slims on 12th & Washington Thursday night and had a GREAT time! It was ladies night with $1 wells & draws - we took advantage of that by drinking our weight in Rum & Cokes! Had pizza from the pizza place two doors up (rum makes me forget the name) which was really good. $20 for 2 beers and a large pizza - can't be beat!! Checkout is at 11am and apparently they aren't too flexible but the Clevelander will hold your luggage for you. We shopped for a bit and ate at Big Pink around 1st & Collins. It was EXCELLENT!! Large portions and reasonable prices. The sweet corn tortilla omelet was great, the fresh salsa good and the Stoli root beer float AWESOME! We were all pleased with our meals there. Headed to the port around 1pm and we were on the ship within 40 minutes. We had 1 carry on each so we just carried our luggage onboard with us. The porters outside didn't like this and screamed at us that we HAD to give them our bags but we knew better as there were people carrying on a lot more than we had with us. We did the obligatory tour of the ship to get our bearings, headed to the bar and then to the room hoping to get a quick nap but that never happened as it was time for the muster drill. We were considering hiding out under our beds during this time but we went up to the lido deck and took pictures of each other in the breath constricting life jackets instead. The Spa special that night was $49 for a 30 minute back and neck massage. I considered that a reasonable price, especially for a cruise ship, but it wasn't a very good massage. I'm pretty sure my masseuse was in training because I was in the same room as a friend and they did our consult together and the other masseuse did all the talking. My masseuse had a light touch except when she was using her elbows. We had the 8pm seating in the Imagination dining room. Germain was our waiter and Chen his assistant. They were both very friendly but for at least 15 minutes each night neither one was to be found anywhere - we invented a story about them having a fling in the back room during these times. Service was extremely slow & Germain was not as good as the waiter at the table across from us who would explain dishes & desserts to his tables without being asked. The menu has changed a bit since my other cruises and I think it has changed for the better. The desserts however weren't as good as I had remembered. In Nassau, we did the Yellow Bird boat tour to Blackbeard's Cay. As usual, the rum punch is nasty and as usual, we drank our fill. It was sprinkling by the time we got to Blackbeard's Cay so we pretty much stuck to the bar area. The Pina Coladas were to die for and I don't normally like them!! They had bits of coconut in them and the bartender was giving us double & triple shots of booze in them. Double shots were fine - triple just ruined them. The water was cold but the beach seemed nice. They have what the locals apparently call Sand Flies on Blackbeard's Cay and I have about 100 bites on my legs that are just now - 3 days later - not itchy! The sand flies look like little black specs and they sting your legs. It was still fun though. After dinner that night we went to the Atlantis Hotel to see the aquarium. We were there around 10pm and we're not quite sure what all the fuss is about and we DEFINITELY would NOT spend $29 to see this during the day! It is free after 8pm when the guards are gone. It's not marked very well so when you go down the steps go straight and take a left; you'll enter a cave and follow that around to see all the fish. Maybe we're spoiled with the #4 zoo here in Omaha, NE but I was disappointed in the Atlantis aquarium. We gambled here a bit and lost our money - slots only though. With $25 minimum on blackjack that's a little too rich for my blood! Hit Senor Frogs near the pier and that was fun as usual. A wild time for everyone! We were onboard around 3am and we never felt scared or unsafe when we were in Nassau day or night. The day at sea was good with the games. Watched the Hairy chest & the Newlywed game. They had some new questions during the newlywed game so that was good to have a change there. We gambled a bit and the slots never paid out but I did ok on blackjack and walked away with a $70 profit. Kevin the dealer from Ireland was fun for us. The dancers weren't that good - rarely instep with one another, but the singers were a little better here than I've seen on ships past. The 80's show was DEFINITELY the better of the two shows. The R-rated comedians weren't that funny and the 2nd guy stole ½ his act from other people. Not a lot of stuff I hadn't already heard elsewhere. The Diamonds are Forever dance club was always loud and packed. The Beverly Hills Bar was just two floors up from our room and Lourens' service there was EXCELLENT and he was good at getting other guys to buy us drinks. If you see him, tell him Erin says hi! The picture people are a little intrusive, especially during dinner, but we found it's easiest to just smile and go along with it. Turns out a couple were actually pretty good and we ended up buying some so you just never know especially if you're like us who forgot the camera in the room a lot! The pizza was better than I remembered on other ships and came in handy at 4am! For debarkation, we were awake at 7am and in Lounge 88 by 7:55am with our carry ons. We took the Art Deco South Beach tour with transfers to FLL thru Carnival so we were off the boat by 8:30am. It was a different tour than I had taken 3 years ago. This was a lot more informative. We took pictures and ate at Jerry's Famous Deli around 15th & Collins which wasn't so good and was about twice as expensive as Big Pink. We arrived in South Beach by 9:30am and had until 12:45 to shop and be on our own. We had to take some people to MIA but we were still at FLL by 2pm. Our flights got home on time and we all agreed we need a vacation from our vacation! Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
This was our 2nd cruise on the fascination. We cruised this past summer and then decided to go on a 2nd cruise for our anniversary. My husband and I are in our 30's. We flew in the night before our cruise and stayed at the Radisson ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise on the fascination. We cruised this past summer and then decided to go on a 2nd cruise for our anniversary. My husband and I are in our 30's. We flew in the night before our cruise and stayed at the Radisson downtown Miami. We bid on a hotel through Priceline and received this hotel. The hotel was fine. We went to Bayside in the morning before heading to the ship. Embarkation: We got a cab around 11:45 to head to the ship. We carried our bags on the ship with us since we each had only one carry on. They checked our cruise tickets then sent us through security. We walked right up to the counter to get our documents checked. They sent us upstairs for our sign & sail cards and then we boarded the ship. This whole process only took us around 10 minutes total. We never had to wait for anything. Embarkation was great. Stateroom: Our room was not ready so we went to the lido deck to have lunch. At 1:00 we went to check on our stateroom. The room U60 was nice. We had cruised on fascination a few months ago before the drydock and were impressed with the changes to the stateroom. Plenty of storage, beds were great. Our room was more forward this time and it was great because last cruise we were aft U210 and felt a lot of vibrations. This room was very quite and no vibrations to wake us up. Ship: The ship had a few changes since drydock that were nice. The most notable besides the stateroom was the new location of the photo gallery. Finding your pictures were much better now. They also added a coffee shop and moved the internet station. The spa area had also been redone. The gym had nice equipment. Dining: We had the early seating on this cruise which was nice. It gave us more time to enjoy the evenings. We dined in the imagination dining room. We ate dinner there every evening. Also had lunch there on the sea day. Our head waiter Mel was great. He did a wonderful job of making sure you enjoyed your meal. Also he was real quick to notice if you didn't really care for your meal and would bring you something else. All of our meals were great. The menu was a little different than this summer which was nice. The Lido buffet food was good. It was always hot and had a good variety. The pizza station was visited many times. We never had trouble finding a table. Entertainment: They have changed the shows from this summer also. The 80's show was excellent. The latino show was also good. Overall this was a major improvement on the entertainment since this summer. The karaoke was always fun too. Service was good. We only saw our room steward once but the room was always taken care of. All bar waiters were great. Dining team was excellent. Shore excursions: We toured Nassau on our own in the morning by foot. Then we took the bus to cable beach and enjoyed the beach. After dinner and the show we went to Atlantis to tour the grounds and digs. Disembarkation: We did self disembarkation since we had a 10:30 flight. We were off the ship at 7:30 and actually flew home on a standby flight at 8:20a.m. We packed light and checked-in on the ship so only had to go through security. This went very well. We had a very relaxing three night cruise for our anniversary. We enjoyed the ship and crew. We wouldn't hesitate to go on the Fascination again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
This was our 5th cruise 4th with Carnival. My husband and I traveled with 7 other friends ages 35-49. We booked a three day for a weekend getaway with friends. We flew from Ohio to Miami a day early and had booked a Hotel on Ocean Dr. in ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise 4th with Carnival. My husband and I traveled with 7 other friends ages 35-49. We booked a three day for a weekend getaway with friends. We flew from Ohio to Miami a day early and had booked a Hotel on Ocean Dr. in South Beach The Beacon highly recommend great hotel great location. Got a Taxi the next day at 11am to go to the cruise port. Dropped our luggage off and was on the ship eating by 12noon. Could not get to our rooms for about and hour or so but that was not a problem gave us time to enjoy the view of Miami and have a drink of the day. Got to our rooms on the Empress deck and was surprised to see they have been redone with a new bathroom shower flat screen TV and new carpet. The ship itself is very clean but not to glamorous as I've been on newer larger ships before, but that was ok since this was just a weekend getaway. Went to our muster station for the life boat drill that didn't take to long at all, went up to the lido to watch us set sail. This was kinda neat as we went down the river and did a 360* turn and then set sail for the Bahamas. We had asked for the 6:15 dinner and was scheduled for the 5:45 which was not a problem. Had booked a late seating on our last cruise and was not happy with that as by the time you wait for dinner at 8:30 at night you get pretty hungry and after dinner your ready for bed. Food on this cruise was better than I have remembered on the other cruises the other past guest we were with thought the same thing. Our waiter June was friendly but very busy he never really talked to us very much but gave us whatever we asked for. One thing to remember on our next cruise we always ask for coffee with dessert and each night we never did our coffee until after we were finished with our dessert mainly because the waiters had to sing to us at that time. So next time we will order coffee with dinner. Next day we were docked at Nassau my husband and I opted to take a taxi to Paradise Island to book a Dolphin Swim, our other friends booked a stingray excursion through Carnival. I had research this on line. Carnival only offers the Dolphin Encounter. Be warned taxis to PAradise Island runs about $4 per person we one of the first persons to get a Taxi and one guy tried to charge us $10 per person turned and walked away another driver told us $5 per person so we went with him. Only about a 5 min. ride over the bridge, and he dropped us off where you can book your Dolphin Swim. Pricey but well worth the once in a lifetime experience.We were on the same boat with the people that booked the encounter through the cruise line and when they dropped people off at Paradise Island they told all of the cruise ship passengers to stay on the boat, so we stayed on the boat and got a free ride back to the Cruise Ship. Went back to the ship to have lunch, then went to the straw market to do some shopping too many people to hot. Went back to the ship to get ready for dinner. Again excellent food. Went to the shows they were very good. Next day at sea took in some sun, and a few drinks of the day. We opted to keep our luggage and had breakfast and got off the ship by 8:30am I did like that better so we didn't have to wait to be called by our tag color to get off the ship and search for luggage, the only draw back was it was a very long walk off the ship. We had booked a ride to the airport online through Ambassador Limo Service I called them as we were a little early getting off and they had a driver on the way. They were supposed to send a 11 passenger van for the 9 of us but they up graded us to a Stretch Excursion Limo. Darn.. Highly recommend this company ended up costing us $13 a person to Fort Lauderdale cheaper than Carnival @ $24 per person. Overall absolutely loved our long weekend getaway Carnival is great as always. Highly recommend this cruise. In fact hubby is ready to go again in the spring!!!Yea Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
I'm a 16 year old who likes to have a good time, I did a cruise on the Fascination (June 12-16, 2006) to Key West and Cozumel and i had such a blast, i could say it was one of the best cruises i've ever taken entertainment was ... Read More
I'm a 16 year old who likes to have a good time, I did a cruise on the Fascination (June 12-16, 2006) to Key West and Cozumel and i had such a blast, i could say it was one of the best cruises i've ever taken entertainment was great, activities were awesome so we (as in my family and I) decided to take a weekend and head out towards the Bahamas for the 3 day cruise (August 25-28, 2006). The trip to the port was the usual, as a 16 year old I went to school and signed out early at about noon, we arrived at the pier at about 1 and headed towards the parking garage. Service was quick and nice, we parked on the 3rd floor then headed down to terminal c. Once in the terminal, we proceeded to Carnival's VIP check in (we are in that concierge club that carnival has) did a brief document check and headed to pick up our room keys and sail and sign card. Once with our cards we took the welcome aboard pictures and got onboard the ship. Inside the ship we took a picture for the sail and sign card and got greeted by fun ship freddy. We came on board on empress deck then headed 2 floors down to main deck. Our cabin was close to the elevator and easy to find. It was an interior cabin and it was extremely warm. During the duration of the cruise we constantly complained but no one fixed the air. Even at night it was extremely muggy and the bed sheets felt moist. In the cabin slept myself and 3 of my friends, two in the twin beds and the other two on the top bunks. It was very spacious and nice for the exception of the air. It was my 8th trip on Carnival and my 4th on the Fascination so I basically knew the ship from end to end. We headed to the lido deck and munched out on everything they had(pizza 24hrs, hotdogs, burgers, fries, ice cream) and before we knew it we were heading down to our muster station located in the palace lounge for the boring lifeguard drill. I could safely say that in case of an emergency no one will remember where to go but hey... Due to that we were a group of 11 we wanted to all sit together in dinner but when we got our seat assignments we were sat all over the place. We went to the maitre'd and he sat us all together after making a few adjustments. We had the sensation dining room at 6:15 and it was nice. Our waiter Donaldo was the BEST anything and everything that you wanted he will bring to you. Here is where it gets ugly.....ACTIVITIES, when i came in June we had activities every half hour. I remember if we weren't in the lounge laughing at the newlyweds game we were on deck for the basketball competition, well on this voyage we had about 7 activities max. i don't know if its because they changed cruise director but out of all my cruises i don't remember laying down watching tv at 2 in the afternoon in my extremely warm cabin. We asked down at the pursers desk and all they told us is that due to its a 3 day cruise they assume that most passengers come to relax and catch sun rather than doing activities. The response i gave her i can not post but let me "assure" you that it wasn't nice. we paid to have a good time and activities wise it SUCKED. Teen Club.... it Sucked and your hearing it from a teen. They played music from 1030 to 1130 pm and thats the last we heard about the teen club. All of us teens(about 20) hung out together for the duration of the cruise but it just wasn't the same. The teen director whose name i didn't get was the worst, he didn't plan any activities for us, he was an..., and they should just get rid of him. The last night of the cruise all of us were dancing when he cut off the music and said he had to go. well let me tell you something how would it feel if you were having a good time the music is good and it all just gets cut off instantly with out warning. You'll be mad so if any teenagers are going on this boat prepare yourselves for the worst, bring your iPods The service was good, no one was ever rude and it was cool. The entertainers on board were great. The comedian Mike Panzeca was hilarious the shows dancers and the effects used especially for Broadway were awesome. The all time best though was Greta the young lady in charge of Karaoke. She was a sweet heart and trust me if you don't do karaoke, at least on this ship, you didn't go on the cruise. It was the best time we had on bored and that's how we got to meet a lot of people. The disco was for 18 and over "yeah right". At first i noticed people who were my age getting in with out an ID so i tried getting in and the security guy said no. i understood but then i saw a girl who was 17 get in after she talked with him for about 5 min. I asked him why he let her in if he knew she was 17 and all he said was that if i made another comment about that in front of everyone he would report so i just walked away cursing him out in front of everyone. Shore Excursions were limited. We did the the Nassau city tour and it was nice, about 3 hrs long. We went to Atlantis and had a trip, it was a lot of fun. don't be fooled by the hairbraiding people in Nassau, they will rip you off, that was the worst deal i did. They charge 120 US dollars to braid your whole head, and 60 to do half trust me its not worth it. If you want to do the night life in Nassau its alright they will hustle you to go to club Bambu and another called fusion i believe. If you want to try anything go to Senor frogs, its close to the ship and about a 5 minute walk away. It closes at around 2 am. They aren't that strict about age, all i did was show my passport and sail and sign card and they let me in. The best deal though is to go back on to the ship and enjoy the deck party. That was a lot of fun, they had everyone do the electric slide and a whole mess of different dances. Debark was way to quick. We did self assist and got of at about 7 am. At 715 we were all in the car heading home. Overall the cruise was alright, improvement is needed quickly in the activities department as well as in the teen club. Another is that they need to fix the air in that cabin because i know for sure that you will be getting quite few complains from there. Those who went on this voyage most likely knew me and know that i was loud and had good time the few times i had a chance but i do not recommend this cruise to no one Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
I have always wanted to try a cruise, my husband, not so much. As a compromise, we opted for a 3 night cruise to give us a taste of cruising without obligating ourselves to a long trip. When looking at the choices, we chose the Fascination ... Read More
I have always wanted to try a cruise, my husband, not so much. As a compromise, we opted for a 3 night cruise to give us a taste of cruising without obligating ourselves to a long trip. When looking at the choices, we chose the Fascination because it was only going to one port - Nassau, for a full 24 hours, and then a full day at sea. This would give us some time to actually do something in port, and have the experience of a full day and night at sea. The Port of Miami is about a six hour drive from our home, and by sharing the driving was not too tiring. We chose an oceanview room, mainly because I was nervous that I would feel claustrophobic otherwise. Early on Friday morning, before sunup, we set off. We arrived at the Port of Miami around 1:00 p.m., and despite the confusion of the porters and the parking garage, we finally walked in to the building to check-in. There were an awful lot of people, but the line never once stopped moving, and very soon, we were on board. We went down to our room and dropped off our carry-ons and then up to the Lido deck for lunch. Had my first drink-of-the-day in hand by 1:45. Food on the Lido deck was so-so. Salads and fruit was fresh, the sliced turkey I had was dry. After lunch, we went back to the room and unpacked (our checked bags had arrived) and relaxed for a bit. Our muster drill was in the Palace Auditorium, and armed with our life vests, we headed off. This was completed very shortly, and when we went to put our vests away, my husband said, "look, we're moving". We went up to the Lido deck again and watched the land recede and took some pictures. Before we knew it, it was time to get dressed for dinner in the Imagination Dining Room (early seating). Lobster tails, strawberry soup, prime rib, no room for dessert. Our head waiter was wonderful and personable and our tablemates were great. After dinner, we strolled around, donated some money to the casino, and went to see a show. We weren't at the show long, found it old-fashioned and just not to our taste. We went to the Passage of India bar and listened to a very good rock band called the Dirt Poets. Danced a bit, and then off to bed. Next day Nassau. We had breakfast on the Lido deck (a mistake, the scrambled eggs simply are not edible) and then walked off the ship into Nassau. We strolled for a bit and then hired a horse-and-buggy ride. This was a rip-off. He said he would point out the sights, but all he really did was say things like, "There is the Starbucks, there is Burger King, etc." We went back on board for lunch and got sandwiches at the deli - Reubens - quite good. Then off for a snorkeling excursion with Stuart Cove. A bus picked us up and took us around the island. We booked this privately, not through Carnival. It was fantastic. Loads of fish where we went, and the finale is swimming over the sharks, which we opted not to do, but we watched. There were a lot of sharks, some very large. The outfit was fantastic and worth every penny. We were back on the boat about 5:35, and it was formal night and we had a 5:45 seating. Two people showered and dressed in record time. Fortunately, my hair is quite short and towel dries quickly. We did dress for dinner although some did not. I did not care or pay any attention. I ordered the beef wellington medium rare, but it was well done. My head-waiter took it away and brought me another and had me slice it with him watching so he could see. Again, well done, so I asked for lamb instead. No hassle at all. Another walk around and some sunset pics, and we donated some more money to the casino and another early night. Fun day at sea. Yes it was. We played bingo, read books, hung out at the bar on the Lido deck, ate ourselves silly, took naps, and thoroughly enjoyed the day. At dinner, I was serenaded with happy birthday (my birthday had been the week before). I found that in a short time, I had come to look forward to seeing our tablemates and our wonderful headwaiter. The food, as usual, was very good and nicely presented. Dancing at the Passage to India again with the Dirt Poets, a little Karaoke, the Piano Bar all good fun. I guess if I MUST find a complaint, it was that the steward had taken our bathrobes away and I really missed the bathrobe. There was also no towel animal on the last night. It felt like we'd been dismissed already. We awoke in Miami. We did not do self-assist, as we were in no hurry. Breakfast on the Lido deck again, but this time I waited in line for an omelette. The omelette was delicious. Back to the room for one last little nap and we debarked at 9:00 a.m. and were in our car by 9:45. We have both said we would do this again. It was a delightful experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
Carnival Fascination Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates N/A 4.2

Find a Carnival Fascination Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click